As I have already acknowledged, it’s been quite a different start to the year with many in our school community having lived through some scary and sometimes traumatic experiences over this summer. Please know that we are here to help you and your children and if you need any support, please do not hesitate to contact me here at the school.
I would like to welcome our new staff: Lauren Jameson; Natalia Ciuffetelli; and Tracey Kenna. We also welcome our new students and families who are joining the St Thomas the Apostle School community this year. Our 38 kinder students have settled in well, along with our 10 students in other classes. We trust that you all have felt most welcome and already feel that you are a part of our ‘School Family’.
Parent and Teacher Evening Meet and Greet
Next Tuesday will be our ‘Meet and Greet Evening’. We found the approach last year was well received and so we are going with that format again this year. There will be two semi-formal sessions in the classrooms. The first beginning at 5:30 pm with a five minute turnaround time at the end for parents to move to the next class (for families with more than one child attending St Thomas’). The second session will begin at 6:00 pm. The sessions will go for about 25 minutes with time after the teacher presentations, to chat with the teachers and other parents. Refreshments will be served in the break-out spaces in both the lower and upper primary areas. This format provides an opportunity for parents, carers and teachers to meet each other in a relaxed way and hear about what is happening in your child’s year level this year. It is also an opportunity to meet other parents in your child’s/children’s class and to enjoy a social evening with the school community. We will begin in the hall at 6pm and then parents can move to the classrooms to meet the teachers and collect the handouts and also to come into the library for drinks and nibbles.
We encourage all our parents and carers to come along to this evening, as it is a great way to start the year off, finding out what will be happening and meeting some fellow parents and of course, the staff at St Thomas the Apostle. The evening will conclude at 7:00 pm.
As you would be aware, the Coronavirus outbreak has made it’s way from China to Australia, with a small number of cases in the NSW,VIC and QLD and no confirmed cases in the ACT. However, ACT Health and associated agencies sets out clear precautionary measures that are to be taken.
No families from St Thomas have reported travelling to China or Hong Kong in the last three weeks so the risk to any of our families being affected is low.
More information about Novel Coronavirus and updated health advice is available at:
Change of time for Monday Community Prayer
This term we are going to trial a change for our Monday Community Prayer time. Although it has been a tradition to begin the week with Monday Prayer in the church, after a lot of thought and consideration, we have decided to move it to the afternoon at 2:30 pm. Our REC Penny Vanzwol and I have discussed this with Father Peter, and he can understand and supports the reasoning behind the change. This will be a trial for term 1 and we will seek feedback at the end of the term as to how it has gone. The reasons behind this decision include
- Most schools have one whole school prayer gathering in a week (either a morning or an afternoon). We essentially have two with Monday and Friday both dedicated to Community Prayer. While this is a beautiful prayerful experience, it does take two of our morning teaching prime times. Numeracy and Literacy are best taught in those prime time hours so we making the most of those precious hours each day.
- It can be stressful for teachers setting up at the beginning of the week on a Monday morning before school. Teachers want to be in their classrooms. Sometimes children are quite nervous about their roles as they haven’t had a practice since the Friday before. Children with specific roles are sometimes late to school and then other children have to replace them at the last minute. Having it in the afternoon alleviates all of these stresses.
- Parents, carers and extended family do love to attend these Monday prayers and go in late to work a little bit late. We love having that family support as well. We know that it won’t be quite as easy to do this in the afternoon. However, while being invited and encouraged to come along on a Monday afternoon, they will still have the opportunity to join in on a Friday morning with Community Prayer happening across the school at 9:05. Father Peter will also attend these gatherings as well.
I know it’s a significant change but I trust you can see the sound reasoning behind it.
St Thomas will be hosting an adults only ThinkUKnow presentation on Tuesday 25 February from 6-7pm and all parents, carers and teachers are encouraged to attend.
ThinkUKnow Australia is a cyber safety education program that educates parents, carers and teachers of how people are using technology, the challenges they may face online, and how to help them overcome these in a safe and ethical way.
ThinkUKnow Australia is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police, Microsoft Australia, Datacom and the Commonwealth Bank. The program is delivered in collaboration with policing partners New South Wales Police Force, Northern Territory Police, Queensland Police, South Australia Police, Tasmania Police, Western Australia Police, as well as Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.
The presentation will be delivered by a local law enforcement member and an industry volunteer. The presentation covers issues relating to children and young peoples’ privacy and security online, their relationships with other users and their online reputation. It provides insight into the devices young people are using, as well as the popular websites, apps and social networking sites they’re accessing.
This is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn more about young people and the online environment, and how you can help them to be safe and responsible users of technology. Please make this a priority for your attendance. It is so important.
Please ensure that the Front Office has your most up to date email address and contact phone numbers. The weekly Newsletter will be available via the szapp app, email or on the School Website. Everything you need to know will be in this weekly publication. The odd weeks of term will be a longer newsletter and the even weeks will be the Short Stak (reminders, awards and current announcements).
Thank you to the many parents who have made that extra effort to send their children to school in the correct school uniform. There are quite a lot of children wearing runners with the school uniform so I ask your cooperation in ensuring that the correct footwear is worn with the uniform. We want to see our students wearing the correct uniform and wearing it with pride.
Don’t forget that we are giving our children a special treat on their birthday. Children are welcome to have a uniform free day on their birthday. If their birthday is on the weekend, they can choose either the Friday or Monday to wear play clothes. If their birthday is in the school holidays, they can come and talk to me and tell me the day they would like to choose for their uniform free day. I do ask that uniform free is understood as appropriate clothing, including no thongs or bare shoulders.
Below is a full staff list for 2020. I would like to acknowledge the dedication of all staff during the last couple of weeks. There have been many hours of planning programs, updating information and preparing classrooms to ensure that your children have a smooth start to the 2020 school year. Staff have also been involved in professional development days ensuring that they are informed and are working at their very best to support and educate the children of St Thomas’. Thank you to all of you.
The staff list for 2020 is…
- A student’s hair should be cut off their face and, if longer than shoulder length, it needs to be tied back in an appropriate school coloured band. Hair should also be of natural colour with no extreme haircuts. Shapes and lines clipped into the hair should be saved for the school holidays.
- Jewellery should not be worn to school and only plain studs, religious necklaces (tucked in) and watches are acceptable. No bracelets, bangles, sparkly ear rings, nail polish, make up, etc are allowed.Please note that St Thomas the Apostle is a NUT FREE School.
- Students with Mobile Phones are asked to switch the phone off and leave it in their bags. If mobile phones are heard or sighted during school time they will be confiscated and parents will be asked to collect it from the front office. The School takes no responsibility for mobile phones.
- Students who are collected by their parents during the day for appointments must be signed out/in at the Front Office before and after the appointment.
- Parents visiting the school must sign in at Front Office and receive a Visitors Sticker. All parent / carer helpers are required by law to hold an ACT Working with Vulnerable People permit.
School Hours and Supervision
The school day begins at 8:55am and finishes at 3.10pm. Our recess break is at 10.50am and our lunch break at 1.00pm. Supervision on the playground commences at 8.30am each morning and students should not arrive or be at school earlier than this.
At the end of each school day the children being picked up or going to after school care will be taken to the stage. Children being picked up though drive through will be escorted to that area. I would ask that all parents either park on the ‘blacktop’ or ‘oval’ car parks rather than parking in Boddington Crescent and come to the stage to collect their children. (People have been fined for parking here). Parents please do not wait outside of classrooms or in the breakout areas for your children as this can be quite distracting for the children when the teachers are finalising their day with them.
If you do not wish to leave your vehicle, please use the Drive Through facility. The children are supervised in the Drive Through until 3.30pm so to ease congestion, I suggest that you don’t rush to be there at 3:10 but rather come around 3:20.
It is essential that all children are picked up from the school by 3:30 as teachers have meetings and planning commitments in the afternoon and I ask that you respect this by ensuring that your child/children have been collected by this time. Of course, there are the odd occasions when you are late but if it is going to be a regular occurrence, I ask that you use our Out of School Care facilities for you child. You can reach them by searching on the internet for TEAM KIDS and selecting our school.
Student and Family Information Update
In the coming days you will receive a print out of the student and family details that we hold in our school’s records. We would ask that you review this information and manually make any changes that need to occur (work phone numbers, change of address etc.) on this print out. Could you then return this (sealed) to the school marked for the attention of the front office as soon as possible. A reminder also, that if your contact details do change throughout the year, that you notify the front office of this so that our information remains as up to date as possible.
I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday night.
May God bless you and your families.
It is lovely to be back with each of you. While the summer season has presented a variety of challenges for many people, we remain secure in knowing that we belong to a supportive and generous community.
This year our whole school focus is; Be still and know that I am God. This will be an opportunity for each of us to deepen our relationship with God by finding stillness in our lives. We will be invited into the sense of peace that comes when we trust in God and open ourselves to the plans He has for us. In Term 1 we will focus on the word BE.
God knows us and loves us with a love that is faithful and deep. He wants to be close to us. When we allow God to live in our hearts, His love overflows into our lives and we are able to become the best possible version of ourselves. We are called to BE all that we were created for.
We invite you to join us for our community prayers which are held on:
Monday 2:30pm in the church and Friday 9am in the classrooms.
Mass to celebrate the start of the school year
This special Mass will be held on Friday of Week 2, 14th February in the church at 9:30am. School leaders will receive their badges at this time and their families are encouraged to join us for Mass and for Morning Tea afterwards.
Mass to bless the staff
This Saturday, 8th February at 6pm Mass, Fr Peter will give our staff a special blessing. You are very welcome to join us at this Mass to support our staff.
Children in Years 3-6 will be invited to become a member of our Mini Vinnies team. The team continues to grow in number and enthusiasm and we have some great events planned for 2020. If your child is interested they will bring home a permission form this week to be signed.
|Saturday 8 February||
Welcome to Staff Mass 6pm
|Monday 10 February||
Monday Prayer (School Captains) 2.30pm
Tuesday 11 February
Meet & Greet Evening - Teachers and Parents/Carers
Friday 14 February
Opening School Mass
(School Leaders will receive their badges at Mass)
It is wonderful to be back in the library this term! During library lessons, we will be inquiring into the statement, “Our library is organised to nurture creativity, critical thinking and well-being.”
Students in Years K-2 will borrow every Tuesday. Please ensure that they have their library bags each week. We have many wonderful books in our library and it is important that all students borrow weekly. Students in Years 3-6 will borrow every second Wednesday but are encouraged to borrow at any time during the week if needed.
The library is open before school on Wednesday and Friday and families are welcome to come in after school on Wednesday- Friday. The community corner is open at all times for parents to grab a cuppa and relax and read.
Neo will be joining me in the library (guinea pig). The children will learn about how to care for him and I know that they will enjoy his company!
Looking forward to another great year!
The St Thomas the Apostle Playgroup will start on Friday 6 March (Week 5).
It is held every Friday between 9:15am and 11am. Parents and Carers with children from 0-4 are welcome to come along.
For more information, please contact Nicole Joyce, our playgroup convenor, or the Front Office on 62314144 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org