Thank you everyone for a wonderful night on Wednesday. The Christmas Concert was such a pleasant evening. Students practised for weeks and though some were nervous, they all came alive in the moment and were proud of their performances.
Thank you to Mrs Kate MacDonald, Performing Arts teacher, who was the creative spirit behind the theme, script and many of the dances. Thank you also to the staff and students from Saint Francis Xavier College for allowing us to use their gym and sharing their skills in choreography, music and lighting.
The day and evening also had a special focus: Wear Yellow for Annabelle. We gathered together, wearing yellow and providing a gold coin donation, to support the Isabella and Marcus Foundation, who raise funds to help find a cure for DIPG. Thank you everyone for your generosity. We raised $1692 over the course of the day and the money has already been passed on directly to the Foundation. Mrs Lyn Griffiths is very appreciative of everyone's support for a cause very dear to her family's heart. This was another reminder to me of what a great privilege it is to be Principal in such a warm and embracing community.
During the evening we also thanked two members of our Community Council for their wonderful service. Thank you to Debra Slack who has been at the school for ten years and been on the Community Council in some form for that time. She was particularly instrumental in managing and building the Clothing Pool for a number of years; something we all reap the benefits of today. Thank you also to Veronica Sammons who has been the Community Council Chairperson for the past four years. She has always displayed an outstanding dedication and commitment to the school and the role and our school has continued to grow positively with her involvement.
Semester 2 Student Reports
Today your child's Semester 2 Student Report will be sent home. I have included in every report envelope a copy of an article from Parenting Ideas with some very helpful advice about how to talk to your child about their report. Please remember that the report is addressed to you and that we are telling our students that parents need to open it and read it before children do. Please take the time to celebrate their successes and achievements. It is a great pleasure to enjoy watching them continually grow and learn.
It is with pleasure that I can inform you of the teachers for classes next year. Today our students will be told their classes for 2019 as well. We tell them at this time so that both teachers and students have an opportunity to say hello to each other and find out a little more about each other before the end of the year. Next Thursday afternoon they will spend an hour in their new class groups and classrooms, meeting their teacher for next year. Most new staff for next year will be attending and those who aren't able to will connect online to meet the students at an appropriate point in the week. This will help all of our students go into the holidays with greater understandings (than assumptions) about what next year holds.
|Kindergarten Blue||Mrs Rebecca Stevenson|
|Kindergarten Maroon||Miss Sarah Collins*|
|1 Blue||Ms Melinda Taylor|
|1 Maroon||Ms Rebekah Brown/Ms Kate MacDonald|
|2 Blue||Miss Ellen Fletcher|
|2 Maroon||Mr Brett Seaman*|
|3 Blue||Mrs Melanie Monaghan|
|3 Maroon||Ms Allison Lock*|
|4 Blue||Mrs Alison Ewyk*|
|4 Maroon||Mrs Stephanie Stewart/Mrs Serae Love|
|5 Blue||Mr Ryan Spencer|
|5 Maroon||Miss Bree McEnaney*|
|6 Blue||Mrs Beth Fear|
|6 Maroon||Mr Jack Gibson|
*New to St John the Apostle in 2019
A number of these staff members will be undertaking some small additional roles next year and the full details of staffing will be announced then.
It is perfectly normal for children to feel nervous about meeting a new teacher and being in a new classroom with a new group of students. Nervousness is not something to avoid, it is something to work with. It is a great opportunity to model and teach children about how to handle their nerves. If your child experiences extreme anxiety, feel free to contact their current teacher about how we can work together to assist them. You may also like to read the following article What To Do (And Not To Do) When Children Are Anxious.
Thank you so much for the donations of food over the last few weeks for St Vincent DePaul. A number of loads have already been collected, ready to be placed in hampers and delivered to families before Christmas. Many families will celebrate a scrumptious Christmas this year thanks to your generosity.
In January we will cease using Skoolbag and begin using Schoolzine to communicate with families. A flyer was placed on the seats at the Christmas Concert about the new communication app we will use. Please download the app and register on it to begin receiving communication from St John the Apostle from January onwards.
Have a lovely weekend.
Matthew Garton (Principal)
I had a chance to pop into the chapel at Calvary hospital this week. I needed a brief moment to gather myself as I was feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. On the lectern was the reading of the day.
The first reading was from the Prophet Isiah 40 25-31
The Lord God is almighty and gives strength to the weary.
It doesn’t happen every time that a reading speaks directly to me but when it does it makes my heart feel lighter. I was so grateful to have words of comfort ready for when I needed them; words written 700 years before the birth of Christ that still ring true with their message. A message I so desperately needed yesterday.
In this busy time I hope you find comfort in scripture, family, friends and the true joy of the season.
Stephanie Stewart (Religious Education Coordinator)
All Library books are due back to the school now.
Please check at home for any library books and return them to school. Overdue notices will be sent out again on Monday.
If you have a lost or damaged book, they can be paid for on Qkr!. We would ask for a contribution of $8.00 to go towards the replacement cost.
If you are having trouble locating a book, or think you have already returned one, please contact us at Vanessa.Hallaj@cg.catholic.edu.au
Ann Morrison has one place available for a student to learn piano at school during school hours in 2019. If you would like your child to learn piano at school, or if you would like more information, please call or text Ann on 0410 625929.
How to better advocate for your child on the autism spectrum
When you think about advocacy for a child on the autism spectrum, what springs to mind? Is it the lobbying on the television by interest groups? Is it signing a thought-provoking petition online? Is it a carer trying to push for support at school when life is spiralling out of control for their child? Or is it working with a therapist to try and access a new school/service?
It is all those things and so much more.
If you have a child or adolescent on the autism spectrum, advocacy is something that you may be very experienced in. However, even if you are new to this situation, being able to be effective as an advocate in meetings is essential when supporting your child at school.
Advocacy can be incredibly draining. Depending on the meeting, there may be instances where you hear about every one of your child’s challenges while on the inside you are yelling, “But you can’t see all the good things!” You may be called in to help make decisions on reduced attendance or to hear the outcome of funding news. At secondary school, the need to communicate with each teacher individually often intensifies as they may not have the same communication system as existed at primary school. This requires additional advocacy efforts.
So, what can you do to advocate well for your child or adolescent in a meeting situation?
• Understand the purpose of the meeting. If it is not clear, ask the reason for the meeting at the time it is called. It can be incredibly hard to think logically and recall information when surprised or shocked. Emotions can make us feel so unsure or overwhelmed that we struggle to respond well. By knowing the purpose of a meeting in advance, you can potentially think through some ideas, plan and problem solve in advance.
• Know your rights. This is a big one. It is good to be clear, before you enter a meeting, what support you can ask for or what the processes are when a major decision is made. If your adolescent has had their school hours reduced, is there a plan to reintroduce those hours and a timeline for that? Other carers who have had similar experiences may be able to assist by sharing their experiences. The education department in your state will have a document outlining their program for students with disabilities. Download, print and read this thoroughly. If you have therapists supporting your child or teen, you could ask them for advice.
• Understand your value. Your voice matters, so don’t see yourself as 'just the carer or parent'. You are not 'just' a parent/carer but an important part of your child’s village of support. You see the impact of positive strategies and some that need to be assessed. As the carer, you support your child in various environments and can describe approaches that may work well, are supportive and provide for sensory regulation.
• Be proactive and attend with ideas. When you know the purpose of a meeting, you can come armed with ideas and strategies to discuss. Is your adolescent’s anxiety overwhelming them? Could they benefit from regular sensory or movement breaks using a discrete card so as not to draw unwanted attention? Does the work need to be broken up into sections? Does your child need support to navigate the playground or could the school look at establishing a lunch time club or activity group?Your ideas are valuable and deserve to be heard.
• Take a support person. Sometimes, having a support person in a meeting can change the dynamic, especially if there are additional barriers to receiving support. This may be a partner, a supportive friend, an advocate or your therapist – anyone who could add value to the meeting.
• Take notes. After the meeting you might need to think about the approach you will take to further advocacy. You may need to engage additional therapy for your child or adolescent. You may need to seek advice and support if you feel something seems a bit 'off' and is not in line with the responses you receive at home. Having notes to refer to at a later stage can help trigger your memory, make follow up calls and track progress.
You may have had an amazing meeting experience, or it could have rocked you to the core. Regardless of how you go in a meeting, it can emotionally drain you. There is something to be said for the therapeutic cry in the car to release emotion. Give yourself space to process and feel it all. Let it out and chat to a supportive and understanding friend. Be kind to yourself!
For more ideas on advocating well for your child, you may like to check out our new resource from Spectrum Journeys called 'The Advocacy Project – a parent’s guide to becoming their child’s best advocate' and learn from the women who have shared their advocacy lessons and triumphs.
Belsouth Football Club
In early 2019, Belsouth will be holding grading sessions for primary school aged children. Belsouth Soccer Club is planning ahead for the 2019 winter season. Grading sessions for under 10s to under 18s will be held Saturday 9th and 16th of February 2019 so please mark this in your diaries. Returning and new players are encouraged to attend. Further information on the grading sessions will be available on the website in the new year. Belsouth’s motto is ‘Fun Family Football’ and it’s a great club to be part of. To find out more about the Club and all its junior football programs that starts from Peewees visit: http://belsouthfootball.club/