St. Mary's eNews

Term 1 Week 2

Principal's Message ~ 5th February

Dear families,

We made it to the end of the first week! (And nearly without any COVID changes…) As exciting as this week was, I am sure you are all as tired as I am as we get back to a new school year’s routine. It has been so wonderful to see so many of you back onsite after so long.

May I take this opportunity to remind you that while parents are allowed back onsite, we are asking that you do not enter buildings with your children once the bell rings at 8:45. We ask you to say your goodbyes and encourage them to enter their classroom on their own. We were so impressed at how settled and independent the children were when we needed to prevent parents entering the school grounds during restricted times, we have decided to continue this practice. There were only a very small number of students who needed a little extra TLC this week, so if your child is happy to head into class without you, we ask that you allow them to do so. Could we also ask that you don’t congregate near building entrances, as it can be overwhelming for some of our younger students to move past a large group of adults. Finally, we remind you of the current requirements announced today, regarding the reintroduction of wearing of masks when on school grounds.

Last Friday, the staff had the pleasure of listening to and learning from Dave Vinegrad. We revisited restorative practices and the importance of establishing positive, trusting relationships with students early in the school year. I also led staff through exploration of our 2021 Annual Action Plan. A summary of this document can be found here. I believe we can condense our 2021 School Goals with one word: CHALLENGE. This year, we will commit to working on meeting our students’ needs better than ever before. We commenced this year spending one-on-one time with individual students to begin gathering a better picture of their abilities in an effort to identify what they each need to learn next. We will also be targeting our planning time to ensure we are using current data to plan the best learning experiences for our students. We have also committed to dedicating more staff to work with students alongside their teachers. This will take the form of various literacy and numeracy intervention programs, as well as working with highly able students to ensure they too have the opportunity to be challenged and experience success.

The 2021 fee statement will be issued shortly. You will notice a few changes this year, though the family fees, curriculum and excursion levies have remained the same. This year, in an effort to better align with our multi-age philosophy, classes will not be split up to attend separate camps (with the exception of Year 4/5 so that the students can experience camp with their entire cohort eg Year 4 students will go to the Year 3/4 camp and the Year 5 students will go to the Year 5/6 camp). Therefore, Year 3/4 students will attend an overnight camp together and our Year 5/6 students will attend a 2-night camp together. The Big Day Out, a much anticipated event on the school calendar, will become a Year 6 graduation activity. We will also begin adding the cost of theYear 6 rugby top to Year 5 levies so that the jumpers will be available sooner for our Year 6s. We acknowledge that this will considerably add to the overall cost for families of students in Year 6 and as always, with any family, encourage you to contact us if you have any difficulties paying fees. This is also a timely reminder that parents with Health Care Cards are eligible for further assistance if needed, so please see Katrina in the office for more information.

In the next few weeks, restrictions permitting, I will be inviting you to join me in an informal chat where we can meet in small groups and discuss your hopes and vision for the school. Alternatively, you are free to share your thoughts with me at any time via email or phone.

It is going to be a truly exciting year for St Mary’s and I look forward to sharing the journey with you.


Market Fresh Schools Program

As part of our continuing whole school focus on student wellbeing, Market Fresh will be visiting our Year 1- 6s. Students will have the opportunity to learn about and sample fresh produce.

The MarketFresh Schools Program is designed to teach students about the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day as part of a healthy balanced diet.

This popular program educates over 15,000 students annually about:

  • Nutrition of fruit and vegetables

  • how fresh fruits and vegetables are grown, harvested and an overview of the supply chain in the Australian fresh produce industry

  • Tastes and textures of fruit and vegetables with students encouraged to taste test fresh produce.

The program is tailored to suit junior and senior students studying healthy eating and healthy bodies in conjunction with their curriculum. 

Each student takes home the MarketFresh Activity Booklet to share the information with their family.

The sessions will be held on Friday 12th February in our school hall. If you are able to help wiht preparing the fruit and vegetables, please indicate this on the Operoo note sent home this week. 

Due to the Prep only being at school for such a short time, we have decided not to include them in this incursion.  We will endeavour to organise something similar later in the year for them.

Education In Faith: The Year of St. Joseph

Welcome to 2021 and welcome also to the Year of St Joseph. Pope Francis on December 8, 2020 published an Apostolic Letter Patris corde (With a Father’s Heart), commemorating the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

 To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of St Joseph”, running from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021. 

Click here to access the full Apostolic Letter Patris Corde

As such, this year, we aim to supplement our patronage of Mary Help of Christians and St Mary of the Cross McKillop with recognition and veneration of St Joseph. Joseph is a wonderful model for Christians as we live in the world. The Word of God spoken in the Scriptures guides us, but many times we have to apply that Word in everyday situations where we must see the reality around us, decide what God desires us to do and then act courageously, justly and with compassion. Joseph shows us how to be persons of the Word of God, whether it is written in books or in the face of God’s creation, unfolding in history.


A number of resources are being developed across the Catholic world to encourage and support the celebration of the Year of St Joseph. Those resources will include: 

  • Monthly reflections on various aspects of St Joseph's life and character;
  • Prayers for various settings;
  • Images and social media graphics.


Today, let us offer you this prayer written by the Holy Father for this occasion.


Yours in Faith


Matthew Taylor

Religious Education Leader

Kelly Sports Dance Program

Our Kelly Sports Dance program will resume on Monday 15th February at lunchtime.  This weekly program gives children skills and confidence in a fun
and enjoyable environment. It also encourages their enthusiasm and participation and the life skills that such involvement brings – giving them increased confidence in the future.
Click here for more information and registration details.

Community News

Click on the links to access a range of information & activities across our community, including news & information from the parish and local secondary schools as well as, this week, information about Camp Australia's Outside School Hours Care.
  NEW this week...
Church Bulletin 7th February
Camp Australia - Outside School Hours Care (OSHC)
Hobsons Bay Kindergarten program for 2021
Mount St Joseph's Community News
Altona Tennis Club
Footscray Visual Art Competition

Lifesaving Victoria Incursion

Yesterday Michael from Lifesaving Victoria came and instructed our Year 5/6 students on how to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation). A wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about and practice such an important skill.