St. Mary's eNews

Term 1 Week 9



Principal's Message ~ 26th March

Dear families, 

We have nearly made it to the end of the first term. I have heard similar stories from many of you over the last few days about how tired your children are.  We are certainly experiencing much the same. 

I think we are only now just starting to realise how much of an impact last year has had on us all.

This week we concluded our school tours for prospective families. These were very well attended and we have received great feedback already. 

This week I also hosted some of you for our first Meet and Greet Feedback sessions.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending this time listening to your feedback about what makes St Mary's great and what will make it even greater. While it will be impossible to bring about every wish discussed,  it is certainly helping shape some themes around possibilities for our school's future. I will run more sessions early next term and I  encourage you to come along and join in the conversation.  I will also share some themes that have emerged after I've had the chance to meet with more of you next term. 

In the past few weeks some of our students have stepped on dog faeces on the playground. We have not needed to address dogs on school property thus far, but I ask that if you are considering bringing your dog onsite you ensure the following:

  • You clean up after your dog
  • Your dog is on a lead at all times
  • The lead is held by an adult at all times
  • If you have a particularly large dog or a dog who has a tendency to jump, please consider whether you should bring it into school grounds.  Your dog may be friendly,  but large, jumpy dogs often frighten children and the needs of our students must come first. 

If you have noticed some children are frightened by your pet onsite, please reconsider bringing it in the future. Yes, the children could go a different way, but this school belongs to our children and we need to ensure they feel safe when on our grounds. 

We will revisit our existing practices in the future.

There may be many parents who now qualify for a Health Care Card. Parents with a card issued in their name automatically receive a $125 reduction on camps and excursions levies for each of their children.  As well as this reduction, you may also be eligible for further fee relief. 

Please send a photo of both sides of your card to Katrina in the office or bring your card to the front desk for copying.

Last year I asked for any parents interested in joining the School Board (now known as the School Advisory Council). We will be hosting our AGM at some stage. Thanks to those who have expressed an interest in joining. 

If there are any new parents who are interested, please let me know via email 

There are many changes taking place to our School Advisory Council this year due to the change in governance.  Now is the perfect time to join us as you will be part of the process of establishing our new terms of reference. 

There will be a Confirmation meeting for Year 6 2020 candidates who missed out due to COVID.  Please see the parish bulletin for details. 

We head into Palm Sunday this weekend and into Holy Week, which for Catholics is the most important week in our Church's calendar. 

I pray that this time of Lent has been an enriching time spent in prayer and self reflection. May this Easter season bring you a renewed sense of purpose and passion. 

Finally, I once again thank you for the warm welcome you have each given me in what I consider my first "real term" at St Mary's. 

I count myself blessed to have been brought into this amazing, warm, open community. I am looking forward to many fruitful years together. 

God bless, happy holidays and a blessed Easter to you all. 


Wellbeing: Restorative / Relational Practices

On Tuesday this week, Dave Vinegrad from Behaviour Matters came to chat with our staff once again.  If you remember from earlier in the year, Dave ran some professional development for the staff before the students started back at school. 

Dave furthered our knowledge of Restorative Practice, the approach we use at St. Mary’s when helping the children solve the problems and issues they have with others in the yard and in the classroom. 

He introduced us to a new name for our approach, which we will adopt over the coming year.  While keeping the Restorative Practice approach, we will refer to it as Relational Practices, as it’s really all about building those skills that are needed to work and play harmoniously with others.  We don’t want to simply ‘fix issues’. We want to help our students grow in their knowledge and practice of how to be with others, and how to mend relationships if there is a break down.

When working with the children we ask both/all parties a few pivotal questions. 

  • What happened?
  • How did that make you feel?
  • What were you thinking at the time?
  • What have you thought since?
  • What can we do to mend this relationship? 
  • What outcomes do we want?

We spoke with Dave at length about apologies and the meaning behind them.  Some children are very quick to say “Sorry!” and think that it will fix everything without acknowledging the hurt and pain they have caused, without committing to a change in behaviour. 

Next term we'll work with our students to reinforce the message that “At St. Mary’s an apology means a change in behaviour.”, that saying sorry is not sufficient if they just go back to their old ways.

We hope that you will work with us to reinforce that message. 

It’s a great one not just at school but for life.

Want more information? 
Email me or drop in for a chat.


Marg Masseni
Wellbeing Leader

PS ~ We are engaging Dave to come and speak with parents in the not too distant future.  We hope you will be able to join us in person or via Zoom.  Dave also videos his presentations so, if you are unable to make it on the night, you can watch it at your leisure.

Learning Diversity ~ Intervention Framework

This year staff at St Mary’s will be involved in devising and implementing an INTERVENTION FRAMEWORK as outlined by Catholic Education Melbourne.

The Intervention Framework provides a structure for us to better understand and meet the learning needs of all students. 

It is intended to create an inclusive education where all children are engaged and achieve to the best of their ability.

The Framework is based on the following seven principles:

  • All students can learn
  • Effective school enable a culture of learning
  • Effective teachers are critical to student learning success
  • Learning and teaching are inclusive of all
  • Teaching support matches the needs and talents of the students
  • Effective teaching practices are research-based
  • Inclusive schools actively engage and work in partnership with the wider community

The Intervention Framework builds in structures so that students who require it, receive early instruction and intervention intervention in order to reach their full potential. These interventions are a response to the needs identified by specific assessments or tasks and can be a response to both learning and /or social needs. Interventions can be short term in nature or may be over a longer period of time. It includes ongoing monitoring and evaluating to determine if the interventions are bringing about the desired outcome for the student.

We are excited to begin this process and have committed to work on this throughout 2021 so as to continually improve our practice in order to optimise learning for all our students.

Cathy Sims
Learning Diversity Leader

Introducing ~ Brenda Lycke 4/5L & Literacy Leader

I was born and raised in a city called Waterloo in Ontario Canada. The area that I grew up in makes maple syrup and snows a lot - sometimes for 6 months of the year! The summers are quite warm and humid though which is wonderful because I also grew up near the 5 great lakes.

I earned a university degree in science and then set out to teach in Japan for one year before returning to Canada to get my teaching degree. I taught for a while in Canada before coming to Australia. I did emergency teacher work and worked in a small town called Agnes Water in QLD for 3 months to extend my working holiday visa. I then taught at a school in St Albans and at a school in Point Cook for 9 years before coming to St. Marys.

  Four years ago I participated in a teaching exchange for one month in South Korea where I got to teach the students there all about Australia and experience their culture.

 I love being able to influence and support all students in their learning journey.

  What are my likes and hobbies? Swimming, cycling, triathlons (although running is my least favourite part), camping, hiking, reading, cooking, gardening, travel, musicals and COFFEE! 

End of Term 1

Thursday 1st April will be the last day of Term 1.

  We will finish school at 1.30pm.

 Prior to dismissal our Easter Raffle will be held in the hall at 12.45pm.  Parents are welcome to attend however as with our weekly assemblies will need to stand outside the hall. School will resume on Monday 19th April at 8.45am.

Easter Raffle

Our EASTER RAFFLE will be held at a special assembly on the last day of term, 1st April at 12:45pm.

You should have received your raffle tickets yesterday or today. 

If not, there are spare booklets available at the office. 

  To make this raffle great fun for all of the children, we ask that you kindly donate an Easter gift (per child). 

This could be in the form of chocolate, a toy, or allergy free option. 

Please give this gift to your child, to give to their teacher over the coming weeks or take it to the office.

All raffle tickets and money need to be returned by Monday 29th March. 

Many thanks. 

We really appreciate your support!!!

Walk for Autism

Team Jackson and Jeremiah is taking on the Walk for autism from Sunday 21 to Sunday 28 March. We are challenging ourselves to walk 10,000 steps a day for 8 days from while raising much-needed funds to support people on the autism spectrum.
By taking part in Walk for autism, we will step closer to a world where every person on the autism spectrum has the support they need to thrive, every opportunity to fulfil their potential and a supportive, inclusive community to live in.
If you are able to sponsor the Nguyen's in their quest, please click this link.

Anxiety Study

Anxiety is defined as feelings of nervousness, worry and fear that is usually brought on by seeing or experiencing certain triggers or events, and/or by the expectation that this is too frightening or difficult to cope with. Anxiety can be helpful when dealing with new challenges and novel situations. However, if it occurs too often or too strongly, it can lead to children not coping in many situations.

 For many children and their parents, anxiety can be highly disruptive and prevent children from doing things that other children their age can do.

Griffith University, Queensland is conducting an Australian wide anxiety treatment study for 7 – 12-year old’s. This treatment study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

If you would like further general information about how you can participate click here.
And for more detailed information click here

Get Active Victoria

Get Active Victoria is free to join, and gives you access to a huge resource of tips and tools for being more physically active. You won’t need any fancy gear and expensive equipment to try our guided videos or activity ideas. We can also help with motivation, bringing together a goal-setting tool and an activity tracker on your own personal dashboard. Get Active Victoria has something for everyone. Join the movement today by clicking here

 The Get Active Kids Voucher Program also helps eligible families get their kids involved in organised sport and recreation activities by reimbursing the cost of membership and registration fees, uniforms and equipment. Eligible children may be able to receive up to $200 each.
Click here to find out more

Community News

Click on the links below to access news from around our community for this week including news about Mount St. Joseph Girls' College Open Day. Church Bulletin 28th March
Emmanuel College News: 26th March
Juniour Tennis Lessons

Mount St. Joseph Girls' College is delighted to announce that our Open Day will be held on Sunday 16 May from 10am - 2pm. Registration is essential, so please visit our website HERE to register. We look forward to once again welcoming families to the MSJ community."

Interschool Sport

This week in Interschool Sport we played against Spotswood Primary at home for our games of Hot Shot tennis, volleyball, softball and basketball.

 The results were as follows.  Congratulations to everyone on putting in your best efforts. Mixed Softball: 8 - 13
Girls Softball: 1 - 3
Mixed Volleyball: 2 - 0
Girls Volleyball: 1 - 2
Mixed Hot Shots Tennis: 8 - 3
Girls Hot Shots Tennis: 10 - 2
Mixed Basketball: 14 - 20
Girls Basketball: 18 - 20

This week was our final round of Inter School sport.
If we make it to the finals they will be held on Friday 23rd April.

Next term we will begin our Winter Sports program during which the children will play soccer, AFL, netball and tee ball.

Creative Music ~ Term 2

Creative Musics for Schools conducts an instrumental music program here at school each week.  Lessons are currently on Fridays. 

 Check out this flyer for more information.