Dear Parents and Friends,
Welcome back to all families to the 2016 school year. A special welcome to new families
who have joined our community. It is my hope that your child has settled well into their
class and that you feel a sense of belonging to our community. Students new to our
school are Oliver 1G, Cruzie 2S, Joe 3M, Manjir 3M (who has returned to our school),
William 4J, Cooper 5C and Hayley 6K. A special welcome to students who commenced
Prep this week.
Our school theme for 2016 is “Dare to be Disciples.” With this year being declared the
year of Mercy by Pope Francis, we will be reflecting on how we can follow Jesus using
Mary as our model. Throughout Term One, our focus will be on Mercy. Mercy is the
fundamental act of being able to mercifully look into the eyes of our brothers and
sisters as we tread the path of life. It is about opening our hearts to all people and
situations, not being judgmental and being able to forgive and accept forgiveness. As
disciples of Jesus, we must become effective signs of the Father’s merciful actions
through the way we live our lives.
Gracious God, just as we want others to show us compassion, mercy and forgiveness
when we have hurt them, help us to open our hearts and minds to others so that we may
be people of peace and love. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Yesterday as a school community, we gathered under the trees in the Junior Playground
where we participated in a Smoking Ceremony which cleansed this space in readiness
for the painting of our Totem Poles. In 2012 St. Mary’s became a FIRE Carrier School
which stands for Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education. We recognize our
responsibility in bringing about reconciliation for the wrongs of the past in the
treatment of the first owners of this land. Sherry Balcombe from Aboriginal Catholic
Ministry spoke passionately of the strong connection the indigenous people have for
this land and the need for all people to live in harmony. In this prominent area of the
playground there are nine Totem Poles – one for each class level, one for the teachers
and one for our community. Each group will decorate their Totem Pole with a design
that reflects who they are and each year our Totem poles will be painted over and a
new story will be added. This is in keeping with the Aboriginal tradition of storytelling.
REGISTERING TO RECEIVE SCHOOL COMMUNICATION (including the Candela)
Communication from the school to parents is via the "St. Mary’s Skoolbag” app. Please
find instructions as to how to download this App attached to today’s Candela. For those
who cannot access this app., please subscribe by sending your email address to
Parents who have previously registered for email communication, must re-register in
2016. Details as to how to download the Skoolbag app are attached to today’s Candela.
If you have any queries or issues contact Gabee Leone at
All families will receive a hard copy of the Candela this week but only Prep and
new families will receive a hard copy of the Candela for the remainder of
WORKING WITH CHILDREN CHECK
In keeping with Legislation, it is now necessary for those who are assisting with school
activities to hold a current Working with Children Card. These may be obtained from
Australia Post. You will need to provide a passport photo and supply proof of
identification. There is no cost in applying for a volunteer’s card. If you intend assisting
with school activities, you are required to present your card at the Office so details
can be recorded.
Our Anaphylaxis Policy requests that parents agree, to the best of their knowledge,
not to send nut based products to school. It also includes a “no share food” statement.
Therefore, I ask that cakes, lollies etc. are not sent to school to share on occasions
such as birthdays. If your child wishes to celebrate with their friends, you may like to
consider sending such items such as stickers, pencils etc. Please sign the form in
relation to this policy which you will receive tomorrow and return by 19 February. Policy
is on our Website.
St Mary’s school relies on and values the wonderful contribution parents make to the
life of the school. This contribution ensures that extra activities and opportunities are
available to all students as well as providing them with a pleasant and safe environment
in which to work and play. Through volunteering your services, you will develop a sense
of belonging and you will be continuing to build the spirit of community which we are
proud of at St. Mary’s. The development of our Junior Playground last year is an
amazing example of what we can achieve when we work together. Although many people
enthusiastically and generously give their time and skills to our school, it is important
that all families in the school contribute in this way so that the load is shared and to
avoid having to introduce various fees to otherwise cover these areas of need. You will
receive via the Skoolbag app or email (and also you will receive a hard copy), a Parent
Involvement Form that you are asked to complete, nominating two events/activities
with which you will assist. It would be preferable if you could respond using the
online Form. Please use the following link to complete the form https://goo.gl/7yLPcn
by Friday 19 February.
It is expected that all parents commit to two activities over the year.
Each year our data base is updated. Tomorrow each family will receive the current
confidential information that we hold. You are asked to make any changes necessary
and return to the Office by Friday 19 February. Included in the package that you will
receive is a general consent form, a form in relation to our “no nut” policy, Parent
Involvement Response Form and your School Fee account.
INTERNET AND NETWORK USER AGREEMENT
All students have received Agreement notices which need to be signed and returned
A hard copy of the school Calendar will be sent home to all families tomorrow and is
also available on the Skoolbag app. and on our Website.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
To keep parents informed about the variety of activities, special events, achievements
etc., we will be publishing a sheet each alternate week to the Candela. This information
sheet will be called “Around the Grounds.” I trust you will find it interesting and
GENERAL FAITH NIGHTS
Parents of those students who are to receive either the Sacrament of Reconciliation,
First Eucharist or Confirmation, are required to attend one of the General Faith Nights
which will be held on Tuesday 9 February and Thursday 11 February. All other parents
are also welcome to attend. (These two nights are not for students). Sessions will be
held in the Church commencing at 7.00pm. The facilitator for these two sessions is Sr.
Mary Dennett rsm BSc MA. Mary is a Sister of Mercy and has taught Senior Science,
Mathematics and Religious Education classes for many years. She has completed a
Bachelor of Science degree (Melb.) and a Master of Arts in Culture and Spirituality
(Oaklands USA). Mary is currently engaged in leading Retreats and reflection days on
themes of Theology and Science. Mary's focus in her talk will be on The Universe as
Sacrament of God: all of Creation is shot through with the Presence of God. A deeper
understanding of Sacrament in terms of God's presence will assist us to understand
what our Sacraments of Initiation, Healing and Ministry are really all about.
ASH WEDNESDAY MASS/OPENING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
The season of Lent will commence on Wednesday 10 February when we will celebrate
Mass at 9.15am. All parents and friends are warmly invited to join with us at Mass as
we enter into the season of Lent in preparation for Easter. At this Mass we will also
celebrate the opening of the new school year. Students who have been selected as our
2016 Fire Carriers will also be inducted.
SCHOOL CLOSURE DATES 2016
The school will be closed for professional learning activities on the following dates:
15 April, 16 May, 1 August and 31 October. Please note that there is no school closure
day in Term 1, however, there are two closure days scheduled for Term 2.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN
Next week we will be practising our Emergency Management Evacuation Plan. Do not be
alarmed if your child reports that we had to evacuate the school.
School Assembly is held twice a Term and commences at 2.40pm. Dates for Term 1 are
8 February and the 7 March. All parents and friends are welcome to attend
If a student is to be absent from school and the teacher has not been informed, you
are required to phone the school by 8.30am on the morning of the absence or notify via
the Skoolbag app. If phoning, a brief message should be left on the answering machine.
There is no need to call later to speak with the Office staff. On return to school, a
note must be given to the teacher stating the reason for the absence. These notes are
archived each year as a legal requirement.
ATTENTION YR. 6 PARENTS
Enrolment to a Catholic Secondary College for 2017 must be finalized by 26 February.
Supervision of the school grounds commences at 8.40am. Students therefore should
not arrive prior to this time. Any student needing to be dropped off any earlier must
be booked into our Before School Care Program. Students in Yr. 3-6 are asked to
gather on the Piazza and Prep –Yr. 2 students are to gather on Bonnie’s Playground
where there is teacher supervision.
In the afternoon, supervision in the playground ceases at 3.45pm. Any student still
waiting to be picked up will be brought to the Office. If you are unable to collect your
child by 3.45pm, you are asked to book them into the After School Care Program.
STAFF CAR PARK
Parents are asked not to park in the Staff car park which is at the top of the property
near the Presbytery.