Santa Sophia Catholic College Newsletter

November Newsletter - Term 4, Week 4 2020

Welcome Address by Mark De Vries

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.


Enrolments now open: please let your family/friends know

Building Update

On Wednesday 4 November we had our first group of students visit the new College building site. This was a momentous occasion and you can view a wonderful video summary of this event on our website here to view the building progress and to hear about their experiences.

TTFM Survey Results

Parent satisfaction

During 2020, the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta conducted in each school, the 'Tell Them From Me Survey' (TTFM) to provide feedback from parents, students, and staff about our school. The survey is based on a comprehensive questionnaire covering several aspects of parents' perceptions of their children's experiences at home and school. Below is a comparison of our 2019 results with our 2020 results.

Our college recorded exceptionally high scores (mean across the system appears in brackets) on the following areas:  

parents made to feel welcome7.6 (7.0)8.0 (7.4)
parents being kept informed6.4 (6.3)7.6 (6.7)
parents supported learning at home7.3 (6.9)7.3 (7.0)
school supported learning7.7 (7.1)7.9 (7.4)
school supported positive behaviour7.4 (7.4)8.0 (7.5)
safety at school8.0 (7.4)7.9 (7.6)         
inclusive school7.2 (6.8)7.4 (6.9)

As you can clearly see from the above statistics, there is a high degree of parent satisfaction with the school, and like in 2019, this year we were above the mean in each of the domains of testing. This can be attributed to our open communication with parents as well as our innovative new ways of communicating with parents through our Santa Sophia Connect Program.

An area for future development is been an inclusive school and parents supporting learning at home. While I know that many of you regularly check your child’s Digital Portfolios and See Saw accounts, I would like to see an increase in the number of parents doing this on a regular basis. We would also like to see an increase in the number of parents completing the survey. In 2020 we had 49 families out of a possible 223 families, complete the survey (22%).  

New Happy Families Membership - FREE for our parents!

Santa Sophia Catholic College has teamed up with Happy Families (by Dr Justin Coulson) to help support our ongoing commitment to wellbeing. Our entire school community now has access to resources including LIVE sessions with Dr Justin Coulson which will help families, staff and students to flourish. This membership is normally valued at $170 for 12 months but all college families now can access this for FREE.


These memberships contain a library of parenting resources to offer calm assurance, vision, direction and solutions you can trust.

Get help with common parenting quandaries such as:

▶ Sibling Rivalry

▶ Managing Screens

▶ Building Resilience

▶ Dealing with Anxiety in your Child... and many more

Some of the features included in your membership are:

▶ Live monthly webinars with Dr Justin Coulson

▶ Video guide library

▶ Offers and discounts

▶ Weekly "Lighten the Load" tips


Kindergarten Update: Term 4 2020

Kindergarten has been engaged in some exciting learning during the start of Term 4. Read about it on our website here

Kindergarten Overview

Year 1 Update & Maternity Leave Farewell from Mrs Ibanez

by Mrs Ibanez

As we draw close to the end of this school year, it is with great pride that I can look back at the many achievements and milestones of the Year 1 children. They have worked so hard despite the many demands and challenges we have faced this year.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. De Vries, the teaching staff, parents and students for what has been another remarkable year of teaching and learning. Our school has continued to be a great school and it is thanks to the wonderful school community that we are lucky to have here at Santa Sophia Catholic College. I’m truly grateful and blessed indeed to be part of this wonderful school community.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the wonderful parents for your generous support this year. A great deal of what we do in school cannot be achieved without you. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued trust and support.

Finally, I would like to wish all of the Year 1 children the very best for the remainder of the year. I still remember the very first day many of the children walked through the classroom doors in Kindergarten and reflecting to where they are now, we have had the most incredible year learning and growing together.  I thank the children for their hard work and enthusiasm for the variety of learning that they have been provided with this year. I know you will go on to achieve great things in the future.

I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas break and I look forward to seeing you all in the near future.


Love and prayers,

Mrs Ibanez

Book Week 2020

This year Santa Sophia Primary celebrated Book Week with a 'Love of Literacy Day' where the students are asked to dress up as their favourite book character relating to the theme for 2020 'Curious Creatures, Wild Minds'. Read more about this on our website and view the full album here

Primary Book Week

All Saint's Day Primary Celebrations

Students from around the world united through music

In a world more isolated than ever due to COVID-19, students who live half a world away, came together to create this beautiful music production of The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Read about this collaboration on our website here and view the video below.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Getting Real with Industry Professionals

Identifying that one of our students, Koby, had an interest in graphic design, our teachers arranged a one-on-one meeting with industry professional, Glenn Whitehead, Creative Director at George P. Johnson Experience Marketing, whose clients include Mazda, IBM, Gatorade, Jeep and other prestigious brands. Koby was able to ask questions and receive feedback on his digital portfolio. Find out more about it here.

Year 9 Students begin writing School Song with help from prominent composer

Being a new school, our students are a significant part of our foundation, and we are so excited that our Year 9 Music Class will be taking part in the special task of writing our school song. Read about it on our website here.

Year 7 Student-led lessons in Youth and Culture PIP

Year 7 Youth and Culture Personal Interest Project students led their peers in their own student led lessons. Students had to prepare an engaging lessons based on a Saint and quote from that Saint exploring the Saint's life and virtues. Find out about it on our website here.

Year 8 students: Creating a claymation video in one day

On Tuesday 22 October, Year 8 Visual Arts students participated in a Claymation Digital Animation Workshop facilitated by Digi Ed. They learned the stopmotion/claymation process and how to story board, animate, and add titles, credits and music to their video. Find out more and see a sample video on our website here. 

Year 8 Students: Finding the most liveable place to relocate real refugee families

Year 8 students in HSIE/Geography were challenged to choose a place within Australia to relocate a refugee family, and research the factors that made this place suitable to live, as well as form strategies that could improve the liveability of the location. Find out about this project here along with viewing a video sample of the presentation.

Launching the Social Justice Statement 2020-21 on Mental Health in Australia

Some of our students along with new teacher, Ms Mardini, participated in the virtual launch of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Social Justice Statement 2020-21, unpacking the theme for this year 'To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia today'. Read more about it on our website here. 

Gifted & Talented News: Developing life skills with a growth mindset

Recently students from the Gifted and Talented program had a special opportunity to participate in an Enrichment Day with Susie Edmonds, a certified Life Coach and Mentor where they engaged in an interactive workshop on 'Growth Mindset'. See more on our website here.

TAS Special Project

Recently we received a delivery of donated timber and tools for a special project for TAS students happening this term.

Under the direction of Mr Magann, TAS students have been tasked with building a HOME (dog kennel) for our therapy dog-in-training, ARLO! The students are so excited to be able to contribute to our new school site in Box Hill by building this place of comfort for Arlo when he's at the school (during school hours).

We are so grateful to Bunnings Warehouse Rouse Hill for their generous donation toward the project! Keep an eye out on our Facebook Page to track the progress of this project in the coming weeks...

Celebrating World Teacher's Day: Friday 30 October

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Message from Fr Carlos

Dear Friends in Christ,

Recently we celebrated the memorial of Pope Saint John Paul II.

I like this phrase of his: Human beings are both child and parent of the culture in which they are immersed.

There exists such a strong bond between us and the culture we claim as our own! When we travel, for instance, we experience a cultural shock, precisely from being away from our culture, and therefore everything feels somewhat strange. In our own culture, however, we feel at home.

I personally think that we and you in your role as parents must work together to create a culture for your children where they can grow and thrive both as human beings and Christians.

I mean to say, you and us can help make your children’s religious life such that is has a “natural” feeling to it, not foreign. For this purpose, Santa Sophia College is creating a wonderful haven of human and Catholic culture!

We, the priests from Our Lady of the Angels parish, are visiting Santa Sophia College every week to make ourselves available to your children for their spiritual needs.

We look forward to getting to know them! Please help them and encourage them to pray and come closer to God.

May God bless you all

Fr Carlos

If you would like to organise a time to meet with Fr Carlos you can make an appointment using the Parish Office number: 8883 4063

Weekend Mass Times:

Saturday: 5:30pm vigil

Sunday: 7:00am, 8:30am, 10:00am, 5:30pm

Wellbeing Update

by Mrs Anoushka Houseman 

New Students

We have again been privileged to warmly welcome six new students (two in primary and 4 in secondary) and their families into our Santa Sophia community at the beginning of this term. It’s always exciting to see our school community grow!

 Mental Health Awareness Month

October is actually Mental Health Awareness Month. As part of this, we had 11 of our staff members trained in the Youth Mental Health First Aid program. The course was run by accredited Mental Health First Aid Master Trainers, Anoushka Houseman (Wellbeing Leader and Clinical Psychologist) and Maggie Trevena (Diocesan Wellbeing Counsellor and Psychologist).

This is a 2 day (14 hour) intensive course that helps teachers understand the main mental health problems that may be experienced by young people, what the early warning signs are that a problem might be developing, how to approach young people about their concerns, how to know when it is a crisis situation that requires immediate action and how to access appropriate professional help to support our young people and keep them safe.

All our participants felt this was an extremely valuable course. One of our new staff members, Sally-Anne Webster said, “This course provided us with valuable insights and up to date knowledge and skills to support the mental health and wellbeing of our students”.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, we would also like to highlight some important steps that we can all take to enhance wellbeing of ourselves and our children. Here are some tips:

1.      Sufficient sleep, balanced diet and daily exercise are critical! They are often undervalued but they have a very significant effect on mental health and wellbeing.

2.      Try doing some form of mindfulness each day. Mindfulness exercises help to reduce the clutter and noise of daily life in your brain by focusing your mind on just one thing for a short period of time. This break for your mind helps you to cope more effectively with the daily stressors of life. Try the free Smiling Minds app to begin.

3.      Make time to communicate with your loved ones – be proactive and reflect back to them if you notice their mood has changed or they seem different. Don’t be afraid to ask and let them know that you’d like to be there for them if they want to talk more about it. Try to listen without judgment and really empathise with their emotions before looking to problem solve. Once they’ve had a chance to let out their emotions, then help them to consider possible solutions to their problems.

4.      Have fun together and connect – try to enjoy downtime together in a fun way. Doesn’t have to be for long periods of time – could be a card game, cooking together, watching a movie together or playing a fun game together.

5.      Help is always available – whether it is contacting the school for more support or contacting external professional supports, always convey a message of hope about getting help. Here are some external supports:

-       Mental Health Access Line (also to get the number for your local Child and Youth Mental Health Team): 1800 011 511

-       Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

-       Lifeline: 13 11 14

-       Lifeline Text: 0477 13 11 14

-       The Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

-       Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

-       MensLine: 1300 78 99 78

-       eHeadspace:

-       ReachOut:


We are nearly at the conclusion of our current secondary school Anxiety group program and we are currently into the third week of our new social skills program. Both programs have been welcomed by students and engagement is high. Our primary school social skills program is also continuing to be a great success and enjoyed by the students and staff alike. 

OLA Youth Group Events

Parenting Corner:

  1. Parenting Expert Maggie Dent shares a range of resources to help with your children dealing with anxiety:

2. Tweens, Teens and Screens. As part of the Happy Families membership you can this webinar with Dr Justin Coulson under the "Video library" section once you have signed up to your account.

3. Want 3 tips to discussing faith with your teenager? View this article


Dates for your Diary:

Due to Covid-19 many of our school events and activities have had to be postponed until further notice. 

Monday 9 November

- Virtual PEN Facebook Live, 7pm - 7:30pm

Wednesday 11 November

- Kindergarten Orientation, 9am - 11am

Friday 13 November

- Year 7 Step Up Day

Wednesday 18 November

- Kindergarten Orientation, 9am - 11am

Thursday 19 November

- Kindergarten 2021 Parent Information Evening, 6pm

- Year 7 Information Evening, 7:30pm

Friday 20 November

- Year 7 orientation (whole cohort)

Thursday 19 - Friday 20 November

- Year 7 Camp

Sunday 1 December

- First Sunday of Advent

Wednesday 2 December

- Santa Sophia Connect Facebook LIVE, 7pm

Tuesday 15 December

- Christmas Celebrations and Awards


Thursday 28 January

- Year 7 Commence

-MAI Testing - Kindy & Year 1

Friday 29 January

- Kindergarten, Year 1, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 commence.