We give thanks for another new year. May Your blessings continue to find us in joy and peace. May our trust in You bring us together as a school community of care and compassion. We pray for all children as they embark upon a new year of opportunity and growth. May they come to know how special they are, each made in Your image of love.
I would like to warmly welcome back all of our existing and new families to St Joseph’s for 2021. As I put in my holiday video and note to you all, I hope that your Christmas and New Year break was a happy and relaxing time for your families. We know that there will be some anxiety for many children in coming back to school, expecting new teachers, friends and processes. Please rest assured that we will be spending time as we start, building relationships with teachers and students and setting up how classrooms will look and feel so that students will feel comfortable settling back in. Our teachers are wonderful at doing this and before you know, it will feel like we never left! We welcome lots of new families from Kindergarten and across the school, as well as some new teachers. We know that our community will ensure they are very comfortable here with us.
MAI and Best Start
It has been our great pleasure to greet students and their families as we have conducted MAI and Best Start interviews this week. Seeing how much students have grown has reminded us of how quickly time goes and how much growing happens over a holiday period. We know this growth is physical and in learning, and we look forward to using the information from these interviews to know our students and how best they will learn this year. Their teachers are very much looking forward to getting to know and work with them.
Throughout the newsletter and in notes coming home to you via email, there will be many events shared that are coming up. In Term 1 it gets very busy, so we ask that you please check the newsletter and the notes each week to ensure you are prepared for the events that happen throughout the year and in particular at the start. Some of these require replies, which need to be done by the due dates for organisational purposes. We will not be able to extend the dates of these, so any responses required must be in by the due dates. The first of these being the Primary Swimming Carnival, please assist us in organising this by responding by the end of Monday.
We sent out to families last week the latest guidelines and decisions that have been made for our school, which must be adhered to by us and our community. At times you will hear in the media different options to those we send out. This can be due to the Government and Catholic school system governance differences or to Parish and school based decisions for our own individual communities. Even as a school we don’t always like the guidelines we are given, but we do what we can to be inclusive of our community and make sense of what we receive. Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to navigate a different way of living. We are also hopeful that over the coming months we will be able to further return to previous practices.
The main point we would like to express is that apart from some special circumstances, we are still unable to have parents and carers coming into the school consistently. We have been able to allow parents and carers throughout the MAI and Best Start interviews to enter the school due to the limited numbers at a time and time spent on site. It has truly been a joy for us to see you within the gates with us! We will inform you of the times and opportunities when you will be able to come in as we plan forward.
Only parents of Kindergarten children will be able to walk into the school each morning with their children during the coming weeks. We know that many other parents would love the chance to come in and resettle their children, but the numbers of parents and carers coming in and out would exceed our allowances. Kindergarten parents will not be able to stay for a length of time within the school due to the numbers of adults at any one time, and staff will assist in supporting students to allow you to leave. Students in Year 1 to 6, became very independent in the mornings last year and we know with staff support at the gate in the mornings they will start the year wonderfully.
Our afternoon pickup remains the same, with students sitting in class groups at the end of Warlters Street and parents and carers walking through to collect them. Children will come to you, please continue walking through the marked pathway and out the side. Teachers are on duty at this time and unless necessary are unavailable to leave their class to talk, you are welcome to make a time to come and meet with your child’s teacher or request a phone call if you have the need to discuss a concern.
During my message to families last week, I mentioned the Uniform Review that has been taking place over the past 18 months in our Parish. This affects all of our Parish schools, as agreement and implementation is combined. I would like to reassure families that the process of transitioning into a new uniform will take time and will mean that any new uniforms purchased for 2021 will not be wasted. We are expecting that the start of the transition will take place in 2022, but this is dependent on the next stages of the review when designs and materials are considered and chosen. Parents and carers will receive a note from the Parish soon, with more details about this. I had recommended that parents and carers don’t buy more than what they need, only to avoid the concern of not getting the use out of these while we await further communication from the committee. You will be able to continue using some variety of current uniforms during the transition period, so these will not be wasted. More information on how this will look will be shared with you during this year.
The Year of Saint Joseph
Pope Francis has declared 2021 to be the year of Saint Joseph, reminding us to ask the protector and carer of Jesus to be our protection and guide as we navigate a new year. To commemorate this special year as a school named after Saint Joseph, we have restored the statue of Joseph in our prayer garden. We thank Linda Burgess, the grandmother of Felicity Goldstein (5S) for her beautiful work in restoring Joseph back to life.
Mass for Beginning of Year
We will be celebrating the beginning of the year as a school by sharing in a Eucharistic celebration at St Agnes' Church on Wednesday 10th February at 12:15pm. Unfortunately, due to the space available and COVID-19 restrictions, we are only able to invite the parents of students who have been nominated as either a School Captain or Sports Captain for 2021. A leadership induction and blessing of badges will occur at the conclusion of the Mass. We appreciate your understanding.
Ash Wednesday - Lent
Students will be participating in a solemn celebration of the beginning of Lent with our Ash Wednesday Liturgy at school on Wednesday 17th February. This will be a student and staff only celebration.
With the cancellation of Sacraments last year, Bishop Greg has advised that changes to the ages in which Sacraments will occur will be effective this year.
Year 3 - Confirmation
Year 4 - Reconciliation & First Communion
Dates for these Sacraments are still being determined. The school will communicate these dates as soon as we are able to.
St Joseph’s Day
Staff and students will participate in a special liturgy to celebrate St Joseph’s Feast day on Friday 19th March.
Assistant Principal Mission
It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces last week. The excitement was contagious. Thank you for supporting the MAI process over those days. I thought I would take a moment just to refresh the purpose of the Mathematics Assessment Interview.
MAI - Maths Assessment Interview - What is it?
The Maths Assessment Interview (MAI) is an assessment which is undertaken by each individual student prior to the commencement of Term 1 and focuses on four main areas of Mathematics- Counting, Place Value, Addition/Subtraction and Multiplication/Division. It is designed to provide the teacher with valuable data which is then used to guide our teaching. This information is entered into a database which allows us to track the progress of each student and target learning experiences at their point of need.
Our aim is to provide engaging learning experiences which help students develop a conceptual understanding of numbers ie. understanding that each ‘number’ consists of a numeral/symbol (eg.7), a name (eg. seven) and a quantity (eg. ///////). Many children learn to count rote (just like learning the words to a song). The problem with this is that they may not develop an understanding of the number concepts. They will often not be able to give the number before or after, or understand the concepts of ‘more/less than’, and will experience difficulty grasping addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills without this foundational knowledge.
We are looking forward to an amazing year ahead. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time throughout the year.
Assistant Principal Learning and Teaching
This Thursday 4th February, Year 3 to 6 students will participate in our Primary Swimming Carnival at Wauchope Memorial Olympic Pool. Students in Year 2, who turn 8 this year may also attend if they can competently swim 50m.
Students need to be nominated into their chosen events as a Competitive or Non-Competitive swimmer and permission given by 5:00pm this Monday 1st February. There can be no late registrations so be sure not to miss out. See the note that was emailed home (also available in the Notes Home This Week section of this newsletter) for more information and to complete your permission for your child to participate.
Please note there will be no canteen or lunch orders available on this day for students in Year 2 to 6 attending the carnival.
The Term 1 Dance Fever Multisport Gymnastic program for Kinder - Year 6 will run on Thursdays for 7 weeks from Week 3 to Week 9. It is an exciting and essential area of our Sport program.
The structured Gymnastic program develops the progressive learning of skills in children of all abilities. Students will learn locomotor and non locomotor skills along with a variety of elements of movement which are aligned with the NSW PDHPE Syllabus.
We are grateful to have accepted a Sporting Schools grant which will subsidise this program, making the cost for each child $23.70 for the term. This amount has been billed to your student account and can be paid via eftpos, BPay or cash. Please make payment by Friday 12th March to enable us to meet our costs with our providers, Dance Fever Multisport.
During the holidays some of our dedicated staff members completed their Bronze Medallion. This has given them qualifications in Life Saving at a pool and in CPR. Congratulations Mrs Toole, Mr Smith, Mrs Germain, Mrs Goldstein and Miss Buckland.
GRADE SPORT UNIFORM DAYS
Please see below update regarding some Years who will be required to wear their sport uniform three days of the week for Term 1.
We are unable to have volunteers in the canteen at this stage, however we are hoping this will change very soon.
The canteen is operating as usual and lunch orders can be placed via Flexischools or by dropping them in the basket on the counter each morning.
Flexischools is our preferred method for submitting lunch orders.
Reminder - Cutoff time for online orders is 8.30am.
- Download the Flexischools app from the App Store or from Google Play.
Note: for iPhone and iPad please select ‘Allow’ notification
- Click “Register Now” to create account
- Top-up your balance
- Start ordering immediately
- Alternatively Go to www.flexischools.com.au or you can find the link on the school website.
Don’t forget you can place your online orders days or even weeks in advance, making the morning rush even easier!
For help and ideas for getting back into the routine of making school lunches every day, check out these websites:
Week 2 - Term 1 2021
|Monday 1st February||
|Tuesday 2nd February||
|Wednesday 3rd February||
|Thursday 4th February||
Week 3 - Term 1 2021
|Monday 8th February||
|Tuesday 9th February||
|Wednesday 10th February||
|Thursday 11th February||
|Friday 12th February||
Week 4 - Term 1 2021
|Monday 15th February||
|Wednesday 17th February||
|Thursday 18th February||
|Friday 19th February||
Please note these dates can change from time to time due to unforeseen circumstances and we will endeavour to advise you of any changes at the earliest possible opportunity. Our school Google calendar can be accessed via this link for additional advanced dates -
For your convenience 2021 school term dates are listed below. They are also located on our website. Click on the words “TERM DATES” on the home page.
TERM 1 2021
School Administration Day (Pupil Free) - Wednesday 27th January 2021
Year 1 to 6 Maths Assessment Interviews - Thursday 28th January and Friday 29th January 2021
Kindergarten Best Start Interviews - Thursday 28th January to Wednesday 3rd February 2021
Year 1 to 6 commence classes Term 1 - Monday 1st February 2021
Kindergarten commence classes Term 1 - Thursday 4th February 2021
Kindergarten to Year 6 last day of classes Term 1 - Wednesday 31st March 2021
Staff Development Day (Pupil Free) – Thursday 1st April 2021
Staff Development Day (Pupil Free) – Monday 19th April 2021
Kindergarten to Year 6 commence classes Term 2 - Tuesday 20th April 2021
Proclaim Lismore 2021
Staff Development Day (Pupil Free) - Wednesday 5th May 2021
Kindergarten to Year 6 last day of classes Term 2 – Friday 25th June 2021
Staff Development Day (Pupil Free) – Monday 12th July 2021
Kindergarten to Year 6 commence classes Term 3 – Tuesday 13th July 2021
Kindergarten to Year 6 last day of classes Term 3 – Friday 17th September 2021
Staff Development Day (Pupil Free) – Tuesday 5th October 2021
Kindergarten to Year 6 commence classes Term 4 – Wednesday 6th October 2021
Term finishes - Friday 17th December 2021
Other Holidays in 2021
Australia Day – Tuesday 26th January 2021 (Public Holiday)
Good Friday – Friday 2nd April 2021
Easter Monday – Monday 5th April 2021 (Public Holiday)
ANZAC Day – Sunday 25th April 2021
Queen’s Birthday – Monday 14th June 2021 (Public Holiday)
Labour Day – Monday 4th October 2021 (Public Holiday)
Christmas Day - Saturday 25th December 2021
Boxing Day - Sunday 26th December 2021