to the start of the 2017 school year and a special welcome to all the new families joining the St Columba’s School community. On Monday we welcomed 49 new students; 46 Preps, Kipp McLeod in LG 12, Gracie Stewart in LG 10 and Georgia Stewart in LG 3.
As it can be a little daunting when joining any new community, I ask that our current families extend a warm and friendly St Columba’s welcome to our new families.
The year has started very smoothly, with all children settling into their classroom routines. Walking through the school on Monday morning it was great to see the student’s enthusiasm and excitement at being back at school. There seems to have been a seamless transition with children adjusting to routines very quickly.
At the start of a new school year your child might be feeling a little anxious as they move into a new learning group, grade or school. If so, reassure them that everyone is finding things that are new and different. It will take a little time for all to settle. If need be, speak to your child’s classroom teacher and make them aware of the situation.
Last Thursday and Friday the staff gathered in Anglesea for a 2-day retreat. The focus of the retreat was a passage from Mathew’s Gospel “Let your light shine before others”. Time was spent reflecting on our individual strengths and challenges and sharing what benefits we bring to our team and how we can be ‘light’ for others. Opportunities for collaboration and spiritual growth were also woven in. The theme from the retreat will flow into our Opening School Mass and throughout the year.
Blake is one of our grade 5 students. Late last year Blake was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anaemia, a very rare disease which causes the bone marrow to not make enough red, white and platelet blood cells for the body, which can lead to potentially fatal consequences. Luke and Michelle (Blake’s parents) have been taking Blake to Melbourne 2 to 3 times a week for the last 3 months for treatment while Blake waits for a bone marrow transfusion. Recently the transfusion booked for February 16th fell through. This is incredibly disappointing for Blake and his family.
A ‘Go Fund Me’ page has been set up to help provide financial support for the family. Please click the link below if you wish to donate or leave money in an envelope at the school office with the name Blake Dridan on the front.
Go Fund Me Campaign
Work on the building renovation slowed down considerably over the holiday period. Structurally the building is now complete and we will see much quicker progress over the next month. Over the next few weeks the carpenters will complete the frame, window frames will be installed, mechanical and hydraulic rough in will take place, plasterboard will be hung and the external areas will be cladded.
The expected completion date for stage 1 of the works (i.e. new Prep and 3/4 learning spaces) will now be early term 2.
We are very fortunate to have Narelle White working in our school community again this year. Narelle is a trained social worker and is available to meet with students and/or families every Monday and Tuesday between 8.30 and 4.00. If you would like your child/ren to spend some time with Narelle, or you would like to have a conversation with Narelle yourself, please contact Narelle directly at school on a Monday or Tuesday or leave a message at the office and Narelle will be in touch.
This year our school Assemblies will be held in the church until we have use of the hall again. Assemblies will be held every second Friday afternoon starting at 2.30pm. At assembly we pray together, share our learning, recognise and affirm achievements and share school news. Assembly normally runs for about 40 minutes. All parents, grandparents and friends are most welcome to attend. Our first Assembly will be held next this 10th February, with our school captains leading this assembly.
DROP OFF AND PICK UP POINTS
In the morning students are able to enter the school grounds via the gates on Howard Street from 8.20am onwards. Until 8.35am, children are asked to gather under the shade structure near the playground where they will be supervised by the teacher on duty. The large gates on Gregory Street will be opened at 8.35am. At 8.35am, children are able to enter their classrooms and organise themselves for the day ahead. The first bell will ring at 8.45am, with all children expected to be in classrooms ready to learn before 8.50am when the second bell will ring. All gates will be locked at first bell 8.45am and you will need to enter via the office. If it is after 8.50 you will be required to come into the office and sign your child/ren in. (Please do not drop your child off without signing them in).
At the end of each day, students can leave the school via the gates on Howard Street or Gregory Street. Parents waiting for children at the Howard Street entrance are asked to wait on either the deck or gravel area so as to keep the path free for people entering or leaving the school.
Children must sit and wait to be picked up after school. It is not a time to be playing with sports equipment or on the playground. We ask that all children be picked up on time. If there is any reason you can’t get here on time please call the office and advise you are running late. All gates are locked at 3.30pm. After this time, parents will need to enter the school via the office to collect their children.
We would also like to remind all parents to be especially careful when dropping off and picking up your children. Please refrain from double parking and please take care when backing out of car spaces to ensure the safety of all children.
The bell times for 2017 are as follows:
8.45 First bell (gates are locked)
8.50 Second bell – all students must be in classes (if late enter via the office and sign in)
10.20 – 10.50 First break (students eat their snacks out in the yard)
12.50-1.05 Students eat lunch in classrooms, supervised by their teachers
1.05 – 1.45 Second break
A reminder that ALL children need to bring to school a healthy snack (Munch ‘n’ Crunch), consisting of fruit, vegetable or cheese. Food needs to be in bite sized pieces for children to snack on during their morning learning time.
MEET & GREET OPPORTUNITIES THIS TERM
Next Thursday 16th February we will be hosting a family picnic followed by Information sessions for parents. This will be an opportunity to introduce yourself to your child’s class teacher and find out lots of information about learning group/community expectations for 2017. The picnic will start at 5.30pm in the school grounds. Families are asked to BYO food, drinks, picnic rug or chairs. Information sessions will take place as follows:
6.00-6.30 Prep LC
6.30-7.00 1/2 LC
7.00-7.30 3/4 LC
7.30-8.00 5/6 LC
These sessions will take place in each of the Learning Communities.
Prep parents will also have an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher during Numeracy testing which will occur on Wednesday 15th and 22nd February. Parents will need to book a time for their child through the online booking system. This will be available via the school app tomorrow.
Parent/Teacher Interviews will be held on Tuesday 21st and Thursday 22nd March. These interviews will also provide an opportunity to share information with your child’s teacher, as well as find out how your child has settled into their new learning group and how they are progressing.
More information about the above opportunities will follow in subsequent newsletters.
If you would like to meet with your child’s teacher at any other time, please write a note in your child’s diary and the teacher will arrange an appointment time with you.
PE / SPORT DAYS
Children will need to wear their sports uniform to school on the following days:
YR 3/4 Monday & Wednesday
YR 5/6 Tuesday & Friday
Each child has received a school diary. We ask that this is used by parents and students as a way of communicating with the classroom teacher. Diaries will be checked on a daily basis and returned home. Parents, please encourage your child to use the diary to assist with their organisation and to return it to school every day.
PREPS REST DAY
A reminder that Wednesdays during Term One are Rest Days for the Prep students unless there is another non-school day in the week. Prep students will be required to attend school on Wed 15th March.
FEES AND LEVIES 2017
Fee Statements will be sent home late next week. The account will contain all fees and charges for the year (with the exception of keyboard fees which are charged termly).
We offer a number of payment methods to families including: cash, cheque, credit card payments, direct debit and you are able to set up EFT payments from your own online banking service. Please note that the school has eftpos facility.
Existing fee balances from 2016 will carry forward to this year’s fee statement. Families who foresee any difficulty in meeting payments should contact Kim Butler to discuss. We may be able to offer Family Fee Assistance support provided by the Catholic Education Office. However, we must receive notification of your circumstances before anything can be initiated.
You are invited to take part in a new online parenting program titled ‘Parenting Resilient Kids’. This program is designed to provide parents with strategies to parent with confidence and stay connected with your pre-teen child. Please see attached flyer for more information.