Please go to our school calendar on the website or COMPASS for more details.
Please note that Friday 9 September is a pupil free day for professional learning for staff. Students do not attend school on this day. OSHClub will be available.
- 4M Assembly (Week 4)
Dear St John's families,
What a wet day yesterday! I hope everyone stayed safe and dry wherever they were.
Some of our students may have gone home yesterday telling about the 'flooding in the school'. I can assure you that we didn't experience the flooding we did last January. We've had a lot of work done over the year to fix the roof and repair January's hail damage. We only had a few drips here and there, which was to be expected with the amount of rain experienced yesterday. There was some pooling of water in one breakout area, however, that was managed and made safe for students and the day proceeded as usual. Our students were excellent at following directions.
Congratulations to our students who celebrated their First Eucharist last weekend. It was a pleasure to celebrate with them. Last weekend's group were also very reverent and well prepared for this special moment. We will keep them in our prayers as they begin this next part of their faith journey.
Thank you everyone for your support for the Book Fair. It was a great success. Thank you Mrs Alcock and Mrs Levi for organising this opportunity for families. As a result, our school receives points to purchase books that every student will enjoy in our school library.
We welcome Mrs Sharon Hardy who is teaching in 5 Blue while Mrs Ewyk is on leave. Mrs Hardy is an enthusiastic teacher who has worked closely with many classes across our school.
School Board and Community Council Review
The Catholic Education Commission established a Working Group to review various aspects of Archdiocesan School Board and Community Council models.
The Working Group has engaged in targeted consultation with internal stakeholders and has had some preliminary discussions with a narrow group of external stakeholders, including representatives from the Catholic School Parents Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn.
They are now now seeking to draw on the experiences, expertise and perspectives of parents and carers, school staff and members of school communities through a process of general consultation. An Issues Paper has been drafted outlining the key issues that the Working Group has identified to date and posing a number of discussion questions that the Working Group is seeking responses to.
The following link will outline further information from Mr Ross Fox, Director of Catholic Education. https://cg.catholic.edu.au/school-board-and-community-council-review/foreword/
The closing date for submissions is 2 September 2022
I hope everyone enjoys the weekend and continues to stay healthy and well.
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check - Information for parents and carers
What is phonics?
Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds and is vital in learning to read. Some children struggle with learning to read so it is important that these children are identified quickly so teachers can plan for any specific support they may need.
What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check?
The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is a short, quick assessment that tells teachers how your child is progressing in phonics. Your child will sit with Mrs Rebecca Neiberding (Inclusion Teacher) and will be asked to read 40 words aloud. These words include 20 real words and 20 nonsense words. The test normally takes a few minutes. If your child is struggling Rebecca will stop the check. The check is carefully designed not to be stressful for your child.
Why use nonsense words?
The assessment includes pseudo or nonsense words to see if the student is able to use their knowledge of blending to read a word rather than their memory of having seen that word before.
If you have any further questions, please talk to Myself or Rebecca Neiberding (Inclusion Teacher).
High Impact Teaching Practices
On Wednesday, Toni from COGLearn came to work with a number of our teachers on the implementation of High Impact Teaching Practices. I have written in past newsletters about the implementation of daily review across the school. We are continuing to implement and refine daily review as a high impact teaching practice across the school.
A daily review is a short session in which students recall previously learned content.
Picture yourself in your high school chemistry class. Chemistry is a complex, highly technical subject in which you learn a lot of new words and concepts that you have never seen before. One day you might learn about balancing chemical formulas and the next you might have to apply that concept to a more complex problem.
Now imagine that you learned each topic in chemistry only once. Your teacher introduced it, taught it, and you practiced and then never saw it again until the test. If that sounds stressful, then you probably already understand the need for a daily review. During a daily review, students and their teacher spend a short amount of time recalling what they have previously learned. This process helps learning move into a student's long term memory.
At St John's our daily reviews are through a short teacher powerpoint presentation. A short teacher presentation includes the most important information that students need to recall.
Alongside the daily review, we have been working with Toni on the implementation and delivery of our explicit teaching lessons across the school.
Explicit teaching practices, including the effective use of feedback, are key elements of effective teaching. Such practices ensure that students have a clear understanding of why they are learning something, how it connects to what they already know, what is expected of them, and how to do it (explicit teaching). They also ensure that students are given opportunities to ask questions and get clear feedback about their performance against learning outcomes (effective feedback).
Explicit teaching is an important teaching process, which involves a series of steps whereby the teacher:
- decides the learning intentions and success criteria
- makes the intentions and criteria transparent to students
- evaluates if they understand what they have been told by checking for understanding
- retells students what they have been told by tying it all together with closure and independent practice (NSW Government and The Learning Bar, 2021).
Assistant Principal and Inclusion Coordinator
What students are learning about
Many of the classes across the school have been looking at Psalm 1:3 and theme for 2022 (see the start of the Newsletter).
This time we have focussed on some of the vocabulary in the psalm particularly, “to bear fruit”. Junior Primary spent time looking at another scripture:
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
The intention was to help them understand that the bible talks about bearing fruit in a way that means our actions should show God how much we love him and others.”
Kindergarten have made an amazing display to show their learning.
Catholic Life and Reflection
I had a very sad small person come to me earlier this week. I could see that he was crying quietly at his desk. We didn’t say much. I just crouched down next to him and asked if he wanted to come and spend some time with me. As we walked down the corridor, he suddenly threw his arms around me. We stopped for a bit and then continued walking, he stayed close by.
I printed some colouring and he sat next to me silently choosing colours and creating a beautiful mandala.
I knew things were tough for him, I knew he felt a little overwhelmed. I found the scripture above and printed it for him to put in his pocket. I said "St John wrote these words. Keep them close.” I truly hope they bring him some comfort.
More often than not I find solace in scripture. Sure, I have to Google it but then I try to find it in the bible so I can feel the pages and hold it. This particular scripture is one I am continually drawn to.
What an amazing statement. So simple, so complete, so profound.
Remember this YOU (yes YOU) are so loved.
Religous Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
Happy birthday to Emily T, Liam M, Shanaya S and Jari K who all celebrated a birthday over the last week.
Please note that we ask students to not bring home made cupcakes to share with the class for their birthdays. This is a precautionary measure for health and hygiene. The Canteen offers a number of options to share with the class. Purchases can be made through the QKR app.
Sextortion on Instagram
Our children are curious, and potential child predators recognise and prey on this. Recently we have had several disclosures of sextortion. Sextortion is a hybrid of the words ‘sexual’ and ‘extortion.’ Sextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favours, or money.
The way this often works is that your child will be approached and targeted through a direct message request from a stranger on their social media platform, such as Instagram. These approaches can also happen on games with chat functions including Roblox and Minecraft.
The most recent case that we referred to the Police was a 16 year old girl that had checked her direct message requests and accepted them (as most teens usually do even though this is very dangerous). Once the connection was made, the sextorter (that is, the new “friend” or “connection”) said “If you don’t send me a nude in 60 secs I will send this image to your friends and say it is you”. They sent her a cropped image of a naked young woman laying on a bed.
The 16 year old responded, saying that she would report them. Again they gave her 60 seconds. The girl responded with some forceful profanities in an attempt to shut down the conversation. The blackmailer went ahead and sent the image through another DM to three boys that were on her friend’s list.
The perpetrator had done their research, and they knew the boys lived in the same town as they played sport together and had commented on a recent post the girl had shared. (This is easy to figure out through a public account on Instagram and why setting an Instagram account to private is a must.)
The girl blocked the person doing the sextortion, but messages kept coming through under multiple account names. The girl took screenshots to use as evidence. They were all reported to Instagram and blocked. We notified the Police so that they were aware if the images were shared by other teens who may have believed it was her. They contacted the teens involved who had received the photo and shut the whole situation down very quickly.
As frightening as this is, this is a good news story. The boys knew it wasn’t her. They didn’t pass things along. The girl blocked the perpetrator. The issue was reported and police intervened.
Nevertheless, this example highlights the enormous and urgent need we have to engage with our children with conversations about the way that they are using social media or online games and other platforms where our children can interact with, and be contacted by, people not known to them. Things you need to discuss with your children include:
- That they should never accept DM requests from anyone they don’t know. Accepting a DM request from an unknown contact is not safe. Never. Ever
- That they should never share personal details with people they do not know personally. Children are groomed every day by people who are not who they say they are. (E.g., a 47 year-old man pretending to be a 12-year-old boy)
- Tell them to use an alias, and to avoid sharing anything about their location, school, favourite hobbies, or anything else with people on the Internet, even if they think they know who they are talking with
- Ask them to show you the DM request section of their online profiles from time to time. (DM’s are usually just from their friends, but the DM request section is almost always from strangers)
- Ask your child to show you how they report and block to be assured that they know what to do when things go wrong
- Make sure they know not to pay or respond to any demands at all. They should not engage at all
- Teach them that they should take screenshots if something happens to have evidence if the authorities need to be notified
- Let them know that they can always speak to you without judgment, that you will help them if they make a mistake online, and something goes wrong. They need to know that they should never be afraid to speak up.
- If you are in Australia, make an image-based abuse report to https://www.esafety.gov.au/report/image-based-abuse
- Report suspected grooming to https://www.accce.gov.au/
- Or report to your local Police or Crime stoppers via https://crimestoppers.com.au/
- If you are not in Australia, immediately contact your local Police for advice and to make a report.
Kirra Pendergast is the CEO of Safe on Social Media Pty Ltd and The eSafety Training Company Pty Ltd. Both are purpose-driven organisations, aiming to keep as many people across the world safe online through education and empowerment. For further information visit www.safeonsocial.com and www.esafetyhq.com