Dear Parents, Guardians and community,
This week we welcome our Prep,Year 1, 2, 5 and 6 classes. I know our staff are excited to see classes back in the school. The updated plan is included in this newsletter.
Staffing News: We have two staffing announcements for 2022. In 2022, we will be working with two Deputy Principals. Laura Graham, our Deputy, is returning part time (3 days) so she will share the role with Michelle Ristovski. Michelle will be full time in the school, three days in the classroom and two days as Deputy and Well being Leader. The other Staffing news is that Michelle Ebinger has stepped down from her role of Faith Formation Leader. Charlotte Lipnicki will take over the role from Michelle. Charlotte shared the role with Michelle in 2021. We thank Michelle for her time as our Faith Formation Leader, she did an excellent job.
Other Staffing News: Anita Sharma has resigned from her position at St Mary's for personal reasons. Anita has led the school for STEM and worked as one of our Specialist Teachers. We thank Anita for her time at our school and wish her well. i want to emphaise that this is not a vaccine decision and that all our staff are vaccinated and supportive of vaccinations.
School Fees: The schools Fees for 2022 will be as follows:
- Family fee increase by $138 to $3,225
- Curriculum levy increase by $10 to $375
- Excursion levy remains at $130
(The Curriculum and Excursion levy = Student levy of $505)
- Camp levy to be set later once locations/costs are determined
Our Business Manager looked at three options and recommended the middle option. The School Board then looked at these three options and agreed the middle option is the right option.
We had to consider many things including that there was no fee increase this year and our income has dropped in many areas. In 2020, the school lost many students as the impact of covid hit the school as families moved for employment out of our area. Our Enrolment numbers for 2022 are excellent, at this stage, and we are hoping they stay around that mark. We have had an increase of families needing School Fees support as Covid impacted our families. reducing our income. Other sources of income like after school care have had to make adjustments as they no longer get the amount of students attending the service. Cleaning costs have had a significant increase as we now have cleaners working throughout the day sanitising surfaces. This fee increase allows us to cover all these things and provide the support our students need.
I think it is also worth remembering that School Fees for Catholic Primary Schools in Victoria are by far the cheapest in Australia. In no other state do family fees apply and fees and levies are paid per child. To send my three children to my school in Darwin cost around $9000, if I was in South Australia, it would cost around $15000, In NSW, it would be around $8000 with similar structures in other states. Two significant things from this. The State funding in each state differs, federal funding is the same across Australia. Catholic Schools get 80% of our funding from the Federal Government whereas with Government school the reverse happens with the bulk of their funding coming from the State Government. Some states fund Independent schools more, Victoria being one of them. The other significant thing is that Victoria has the biggest gap in school fees comparing Primary and Secondary Fees. For example per child, in Darwin, Primary Schools fees and levies, were around $3000 per child, however Secondary School fees were only around $4000 per child. Victoria, it can be a large jump to Secondary School Fees with Catholic Secondary School fees much higher than primary.
In 2022, the new Melbourne Archdiocesan Catholic Schools (MACS) Concessional School Fee Policy has now been introduced. Catholic Schools have long supported families to attend our schools. It has always been the belief that no Catholic Family should be denied a Catholic Education because of finances. The new Concessional Fee Policy has processes and procedures that schools and families can follow. As a Principal, I find this much easier and it makes it clearer for families. I have attached the policy for families to read.
Gender Dysphoria: Recently I attended training for Catholic Principals on the topic of Gender Dysphoria. Gender dysphoria in individuals is characterised by a marked in-congruence between the natal (birth) gender and the experienced/expressed gender of the person. Many of our Catholic Schools, both Secondary and Primary, are supporting students with Gender Dysphoria. We had two Catholic primary principals from our local area share their journeys of supporting students with gender dysphoria at this meeting. Melbourne Archdiocesan Catholic Schools (MACS) and Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese have been doing much work in this area. The central message has been that we are all made of the image and likeness of God and it is our roles as schools to show this love and to support the students and families. MACS have two policies in this area.
Pastoral Care for Students experiencing Gender Dysphoria
I encourage you have a look at these policies. We looked at these policies at our School Board meeting and our Board members and Father Greg had a very positive response to them and were quite proud of the work that had been done in this area by Catholic Education. I know we have a community that would support any child and family who attends our school.
God Bless and Stay Safe
To Summarise the Return to school
Indoor events will remain subject to the obligations such as caps and density quotients. All eligible adults must be fully vaccinated.
Week 1 (Beginning) Oct 4 - Remote Learning - Essential Workers etc Children at School
Week 2 Oct 11 - Remote Learning - Essential Workers etc Children at School
Week 3 Oct 18
- Preps - Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday
- Grades 1/2 Thursday/Friday
- Grade 5/6 Friday
Remote learning continues for all other students when not at school. Essential worker's etc Children at school
Week 4 Oct 25
- Preps - Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday
- Grades 1/2 -Thursday/Friday
- Grades 3 and 4 -Tuesday/Wednesday
- Grades 5 and 6 -Thursday/Friday
Remote learning continues for all other students when not at school. Essential worker's etc Children at school
Week 5 Nov 1
Monday Nov 1 - School Closure Day
Tuesday Nov 2 Melbourne Cup. Public Holiday No School
From Wednesday Nov 3- All students return to school full time.
*Year level teachers will email parents and post updates on the google classroom each week about the online learning timetable.
*Any whole school information will be communicated through Schoolzine.
All year levels will return to school part time. Teachers will communicate how this week will look for each year level. There will be whole class meetings at 9am and 11:40am but no teacher groups this week. Teachers may complete follow up assessments.
Week 5 All students return to school.
Directs students in Year 3 to Year 6 to wear face masks when indoors on school
premises, unless an exception applies.
• Recommends that all other children wear face masks when at school, attending an
OSHC program, or when travelling to and from school on public transport, taxis or
ride share vehicles.
Visitors to Schools/ Volunteers
The use of Service Victoria QR codes for electronic record keeping is now mandatory in all schools to enable the effective contact tracing of any COVID-19 cases.
All visitors on school site (including contractors, diocesan education office staff and building and maintenance staff) Need to Check in using a QR Code
All parents who enter school buildings when on school site Need to Check in using a QR Code
Parents who come onto school grounds for drop off or pick up, but do not enter buildings. Do not need to check in?
Schools can permit parents to enter buildings onsite for student pick-up and drop-off providing sufficient QR code locations are available for parents to check in. Where this is not possible, parents should not be permitted to enter buildings for pick-up and drop-off.
Vaccination for Volunteers: We have had a few questions on this. We are waiting on direction on this from MACS, so no announcement on this one yet.
Private Music Lessons: Singing, brass, woodwind classes and groups in metropolitan Melbourne and other Restricted Areas must be postponed or occur remotely during this time. ( From this announcement, it would appear that we can have guitar, keyboard, violin etc as they are not listed.)
Practise good hygiene
All staff, students and visitors to schools should undertake regular hand hygiene, particularly on arrival to school, before and after eating, after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the toilet. Staff should direct or supervise young students where required.
Hand sanitiser should be made available at entry points to classrooms. Age-appropriate education and reminders about hand hygiene should be provided. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol should be made accessible.
Sharing of food is not permitted.
Use non-contact greetings (not shaking hands, hugging or kissing).
Stay home when unwell and get tested
The most important action school communities can take to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, is to ensure that any unwell staff and students remain at home and get tested, even with the mildest of symptoms. Everyone should consider their health before they start work or attend school and ensure that they are free from coronavirus symptoms and have not had contact in the past 14 days with a person confirmed to have coronavirus or a person suspected to have coronavirus.
World Mission Day
World Mission Sunday is celebrated in every Catholic community in the world. (24th October) It’s a moment of grace to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in situations of poverty, violence and oppression. Every parish, school and community is invited to join this special event, and every cent, dollar and prayer you give to Missio helps missionaries everywhere continue their work.
Sunday 28th November
8.30am & 10.30am
Prep Family Masses
To accommodate the large number of people and families attending this event, 2 Masses will be offered to families. Please keep an eye out for a sign up sheet which will be released closer to the date.
Saturday 4th December, 6pm
Sunday 5th December, 8.30am, 10.30am & 5pm
Year 5 First Eucharist
Please note that the following restrictions will be in place for this event:
Saturday 19th February
Sunday 20th February
8.30 & 10.30am
Year 4 First Eucharist
Bookings will be transferred from the original date and time to the new date and times
If these new dates create any problems, then please feel free to contact Father Greg directly after November 6th.
The Australian Psychological Society provides parents and carers some information on how to help students to transition back to school in the COVID -19 era.
Transitioning back to school in the COVID-19 era can present many challenges for parents and children. It has been quite some time since students have seen their school friends and classrooms.
Given this, it is no wonder that returning to school comes with a mix of relief and excitement along with a new set of stresses for children and parents.
St Mary’s Lego Station and the Rainbow Retreat
St Mary’s School is gratefully asking for donations of any unwanted lego you might have at home. We have set up “Leah the Lego Lorry” and are looking to increase supplies at school for students to use their creative skills during recess and lunchtimes. We are also seeking any Matchbox cars you no longer need to top up the ones available in the Rainbow Retreat.Donations are being accepted at the school office.
In continuation of supporting families with guiding students in the online world, please find the following resources to support your family through navigating the world of technology safely with your family.
A reminder that the following interactive webinars are being offered online by the Australian Government’s e-safety Commissioner to help parents and carers.
This webinar will provide parents and carers with strategies to help young people and their mental health when they are online.
It is designed for parents and carers of young people aged 10–18.
It will cover:
- what do to about accidental exposure to content about suicide, self-harm or eating disorders
- using games, apps and social media to support mental wellbeing
- the pros and cons of digital mental health platforms
- strategies for young people to support friends online.
Dates (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)
Thursday 21 October 12.30 to 1.30 pm
Tuesday 26 October 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Tuesday 9 November 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Thursday 18 November 12.30 to 1.30 pm
Week 4 PE uniform days
Welcome back everyone. Please wear your PE uniforms on the following days in Week 4:
Prep R- Monday
Prep L- Tuesday
Year 2C & 2S- Thursday
Year 1P & 1K- Friday
Year 3E & 3S-Tuesday
Year 4B & 4D-Wednesday
Year 5C & 5M-Thursday
Year 6B & 6G- Friday
We are starting to plan for 2022 so if you have been thinking about joining the P&F now may be a great time to come along and learn more about what we do. Our next meeting will be held on Monday 15th November at 7pm, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join.
This year our Christmas Cards will be managed via Crazy Camel which will include ordering and producing the cards. Over the next few weeks, the children will be busy preparing their artwork which will be shared with Crazy Camel to produce the Christmas Cards.
A couple of important notes for this year. Ordering will open from 25th October and close on 5th November. There will be no accommodation for late orders as only the artwork for received orders can be sent to Crazy Camel. Once the envelope of artwork is dispatched we unfortunately won’t be able to submit anything further.
Information will be heading home shortly, please keep an eye out for the flyer for more information on ordering as this won’t be via CDF Pay.
Reminder to parents that Second Hand Uniforms can now be ordered for click-and-collect by emailing email@example.com
The first Second Hand Uniform shop will be 8.30am Wednesday 27th October.
Donations of clean uniforms can be left at the office.
P&F President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With the Covid 19 pandemic, many may find themselves looking for work.
HDF are currently looking to fill 240 entry level jobs in traffic management (at the level crossing works) and as Covid Marshalls.
HDF was established to help indigenous people fund employment opportunities, but now has more jobs to fill than people to fill them, and there are opportunities for all that want entry level jobs – indigenous and non-indigenous. The D and the F in HDF are St Mary’s parishioners.
With these positions training is provided, and some of the requirements include:
- Entry level jobs, good pay
- Working on construction sites – opportunities for both men and women
- For Traffic Management you have to do an aptitude test so need to read and write English to a reasonable standard, however, there are other positions where the ability to read and write English is not such an important requirement
- Employment is casual for the first three months then permanent employment
- Looking for people who have been or are willing to get vaccinated
- Own transport – usually needed to get to train stations being worked on
- For those who have been unemployed for some time there is the capacity to ease them in with a couple of days a week
- Ideal worker is someone available 7 days a week, 12 hours per day. However, there is some flexibility to accommodate those who don’t have that availability
- Drug and alcohol and police checks will be administered, but a prior conviction won’t necessarily exclude anyone
For people that are interested you can go direct and just follow the link in the attachment or as below, and fill out your details