March 17th 2022
- Acknowledgement of Country
- A Note from our Principal
- Pupil Free Day
- Carpark Safety
- Easter Raffle
- Hot Cross Buns Fundraiser
- Hot Off the Prep Press!
- Confirmation (Yr 2, Term 2)
- Assembly: Parent Attendance
- School Open Evening
- 'Positive Start in 2022' Government Intitiative
- CASEA program (CAMHS and Schools Early Action)
- Footy Tipping
- Vinnies Reading Club
- Student Medical Details
- Fig Trees & Forgiveness
- COVID 19 Arrangements
- Parish Contact
- Second Hand Uniforms
- School Canteen Roster
- Term Dates
Acknowledgement of Country
The St Pius X Parish School Community acknowledges the Gunditjmara / Marr Nation people who have educated children on these lands for thousands of years.
We pray for the work of Caritas Australia through Project Compassion. We pray also for greater respect for the environment. May we care deeply for the Earth that God has entrusted to our care. May we all realise that we are on Holy Ground.
A Note from our Principal
Ngata Families & Friends,
I hope everyone was able to enjoy the extra day of the weekend on Labour Day. From feedback on Tuesday morning many families had been away, some had ventured to Port fairy to partake in the Folkie and others stayed home to relax. This week is shortened even further due to our pupil free day tomorrow and we appreciate the extra organisation required by families for this.
We seem to be in the middle of a COVID 19 spike with rising case numbers and close contact throughout our school community. Thanks to families who are monitoring their children’s health and testing regularly as early detection has prevented exposure at school on many occasions. Together with adherence to school COVID rules, these actions are helping to keep schools open and maintain face to face learning.
Next week I will be attending a statewide conference for leaders of Catholic primary schools ahead of an amount of leave. I wish all families a safe and happy Easter and ask someone to claim my prize in the Easter raffle if I win.
Pupil Free Day
Don't forget that classes will not be held tomorrow to enable all of our staff to attend professional learning in the ReLATE framework with MacKillop Education. Families have been asked to arrange alternate care for children . TheirCare are providing a care service. Bookings can be made at https://theircare.com.au/
Thanks to our School Advisory Council for raising car park safety as a priority in their work. This week members Mel Steffensen, Peter van de Camp, Donna Matheson and Justin Harzmeyer met in the car park to discuss the next steps in safety. The following is being worked towards:
- A change of staffing to place one staff member in the centre of the car park adjacent to the main yellow pedestrian walkway.
- Increase in speed warning and safety signage.
- Ongoing communication of safety issues in the newsletter.
- Communication with the Parish to look at safety provision and traffic flow efficiency as an ongoing priority.
Thanks to parents and families for a greater attention to this issue. Safety in the carpark is the responsibility of all of us!
Our Parents and Friends will again run the annual Easter Raffle. Families are asked to assist this raffle in two ways:
- We are asking for you to donate Easters treats (chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, lollies etc) so that these can be placed into Easter hampers and baskets. These can be dropped at the school administration office.
- Families have received raffle tickets that can be bought or sold to friends and family. If you have not received a book of tickets or you would like another, please contact the office.
This annual event is a great fundraiser for our P&F and we ask all families to get behind their efforts.
Hot Cross Buns Fundraiser
Our Parents and Friends Committee is participating in the Bakers Delight hot cross bun drive. $2.50 from each pack stays with the school! We encourage all families to consider this and place orders at the link below.
Hot Off the Prep Press!
Counting and Number Fun
We have been learning so many different games to help us with our numbers and counting. Some of our favourite games are Tug of War, Race to 10 and this week we have learnt Tenzi! Grab 6 dice each and start rolling. Try and roll this pattern 1,2,3, 1, 2, 3. What other patterns can you roll? You’ll have to be quick because we have some Tenzi champs in the Prep room.
Foundation Healthy Habits Excursion
All Prep families are asked to check their emails to give consent to the upcoming Healthy Habits Excursion which will be held on March 29th.
Our day will start with a visit to Louise at the Hoddle St school crossing to discuss how to safely cross the road when walking to school. After that we will walk down to the Function Hall where we will learn about St Pius X Breakfast Club (which runs every Wednesday morning). It is at this time we will be sampling some foods that are served at Breakfast Club each week. We will then be completing activities from the Woolworths Discovery tour which is an interactive program based on teaching about healthy foods and food sustainability.
After having first lunch at school, we will get on a bus at 11:45am and head to Lake Pertobe (weather permitting) for lots of healthy movement in the sunshine. Students will be back at school in time for second lunch at 1:40pm.
From little things, big things grow!
Last week we welcomed some cute little visitors into the Prep room to help us with our learning of how we grow and change from little babies to big people. Hattie (7 weeks old), Georgie (1) and Tommy (2) and their mum’s, Jess and Louise, shared with us all the things that their children can and can’t do. We could see that we were a bit bigger than our little friends and could do different things to them too. We learnt that Hattie loves sleeping, Georgie is learning to walk and Tommy loves talking and playing basketball. We had the best time!
Last Friday we spent some more time outdoors with our Grade 6 Buddies! They read us one of their favourite picture story books and then we created some chalk drawings to match our favourite parts of the story. Some of the books we read were - Wombat Devine, In a minute, Mum!, Go home - Cheeky Animals and Three - just to name a few. We had so much fun!!
Confirmation (Yr 2, Term 2)
Next term the preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation will begin in the different communities of the Star of the Sea Parish (Warrnambool, Dennington, Koroit & Port Fairy). The Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated by children who have been Baptised in the Catholic faith. At St Pius X this is usually children in Yr 2.
A family meeting for the children and parents of St Pius X will be held in the first week of Term 2 on April 28th at 7pm in the St Pius X Church. At this meeting we will be learning a little about the Sacrament and organising groups for preparation.
The celebration of Confirmation will be held on Monday June 6th at 7.00pm.
Families with a child who will be confirmed are asked to register this at the following link:
Assembly: Parent Attendance
Thanks to families who were able to join us for assembly today. Our fortnightly assembly is now open again to all families, but all adults must show proof of double vaccination and have a mask to wear. These requirements are in line with Government approved operating procedures for schools.
School Open Evening
One of the major deficits we have experienced in the past two years is a lack of opportunities for teachers and parents to come face to face. On Tuesday March 29th, we would like to invite families to visit classrooms with a focus on meeting and speaking with your child’s teacher. This open classroom opportunity will begin at 5.00pm and run through to 6.30pm. We are hoping this time frame will lower the numbers of people in classrooms at any one time. Adults are required to wear masks and must have proof of double vaccination with them.
We are looking forward to seeing you on this evening and urge you to consider attending.
'Positive Start in 2022' Government Intitiative
The Victorian Government has provided information on the Positive Start in 2022 initiative, which offers students in all low-fee Catholic schools a chance to reconnect with peers and enjoy the kinds of activities that many missed out on over the past two years.
Under this initiative, eligible families have the opportunity to book holiday camps for children free of charge.
To be eligible for free holiday camps, students must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- attend a school that experienced closures of five days or more due to COVID-19 in 2021
- have an approved Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) application for 2022
- have a parent who holds a valid means-tested concession card
- are Indigenous students
- reside in out-of-home care (temporary or permanent)
- are from a refugee background
- are students with a disability.
The letter linked below gives more detailed information regarding this initiative. Families must register their interest by Friday 25 March 2022 to be considered.
CASEA program (CAMHS and Schools Early Action)
The CASEA program has been designed to assist schools and families to support children with their social, emotional and behavioural development. It has been developed to help children in Foundation to grade 3 to understand and express emotions more effectively and to enhance problem solving and relationship skills. CASEA is a free program and is not compulsory.
The CASEA program will be offered at St Pius X Primary School during Term 2, 2022. The program runs over an 8 week period and consists of a weekly children’s group (1.5 hours), a parent/guardian group (1.5 hours) and teacher consultation.
If you have any questions or would like further information regarding the program please contact: Elli Smith, CASEA Clinician, South West Healthcare CAMHS. Telephone 5561 9100.
If you would like your child to be considered for this program, please complete a consent form, available through the school. Forms will need to be returned by Wednesday 16th March 2022.
Thanks to all school community members who are involved in our footy tipping competition! A ladder of tippers will be published in the newsletter each week. Expect to see names like the Dandylyons and Richo800 near the top of the table next week!
We have lots of books in the library to contact. If you'd like to help, you can pick up a bag of books and contact at the office. We really appreciate your help!
Vinnies Reading Club
Another reminder that our Vinnies reading club has returned. This important iniative is run free of charge by St. Vincent de Paul and staffed by volunteers. The programme runs every Wednesday afternoon from 3.30pm to 4.45pm. Any student from Yr 1 - 6 is welcome to take part. An enrolment form is available at the link below or from the school office and must be filled in for all interested families regardless of past participation.
Important: All students are to be picked up from the circular area outside reception at 4.45pm. I will be there with one of our volunteers to ensure students are going home with a parent or caregiver. If you need to collect your child ahead of this time, please come into the library to sign them out directly (rather than relying on a sibling etc to do so). Many thanks and apologises for not clarifying this previously. If your child is walking home, we will require them to sign themselves out.
Student Medical Details
At the end of last year we asked parents to use the Parent Access Module (PAM) to add and adjust medical details. This information is vital to the wellbeing of our students and we ask parents to prioritise the maintenance of this information. Thank You.
Fig Trees & Forgiveness
A few years ago at the end of a particularly hot summer, I was counting the cost in my home garden. A few plants in had suffered greatly, especially over a series of days when the temperature had hovered at or near 40 degrees.
A plant near our front door looked particularly ill! Because of its location, many visitors to our house commented on its terrible appearance and suggested it was time to dig it up and throw it out!
One particular visitor however urged us to persevere with the plant, to feed and water it carefully. Over the coming weeks the plant sprang back into life, with new growth soon obscuring the tired leaves and sad twiggy branches.
Jesus uses a sick tree as a metaphor in Sunday’s Gospel. The owner of the vineyard wants to remove the tree. His attitude symbolises how we can be ready to give up on others.
Christians believe in a God whose attitude is more like the gardener. He pleads with the owner to give the tree more time and to nurture it - to forgive.
Through the ups and downs of relationships, all of us know that forgiveness can be complicated and difficult. It takes time - and is sometimes not achieved. Nonetheless, Jesus’ parable urges us to aspire to it.
COVID 19 Arrangements
See red text for updated information.
Managing Suspected or Confirmed Cases
As soon as a student (or staff member) becomes aware of being a suspected case - that is symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste:
- The suspected case is required to leave the school site, or be isolated on-site until they are able to leave.
- The suspected case is required to be tested with a rapid antigen test. A positive test result must be reported to the Department of Health using the RA portal and the school (notification on the VicED COVID tool).
- Positive cases must be isolated for 7 days before returning to school. Another RAT test is not required.
Student and staff who return a positive RAT but who are asymptomatic, and have not been in contact with a confirmed case are now recommended to get a PCR test. If this subsequent test is negative the student or staff member may return to school.
In the event that school receives notification that a staff member or student was infectious while onsite:
- All staff must use a rapid antigen test if they have symptoms.
- All students must use a rapid antigen test if they have symptoms.
- Close contact staff and students will be strongly encouraged to use rapid antigen tests for the following 5 days if they don’t have symptoms.
Where a positive case is recorded from a staff member or student who has been on site, the school community will be notified. Personal information will not be released in this communication.
Returning to School from a Positive Household
Some families may be in a position where their children have isolated as close contacts for seven days as required, but have not become positive, even with current positive cases in the home. These children may be in a position to return to school under updated rules, but only if asymptomatic and with negative RAT results.
If you believe this relates to you, please contact the school for advice.
Parents visiting the school as volunteers (eg. canteen, classroom helper, P&F) must:
- Wear a mask
- Show vaccination status (triple vaccinated or exempt)
- Complete school sign in.
- Carry a visitor pass.
Parents visiting to attend an event must:
- Wear a mask if indoors
- Show vaccination status (double vaccinated or exempt)
- Complete school sign in.
- Carry a visitor pass where applicable.
Parents who need to briefly speak with teachers, or pick something up from a classroom before or after school, can enter classrooms before 9.00am and after 3.30pm, but must:
- Wear a mask.
- Scan QR code at the building door.
- Keep visit brief (5 minutes)
The opportunity for family members to help with reading and other classroom based activities will begin soon, but the above criteria must be adhered to.
A close contact is now defined as a person who has spent more than four hours with someone who has COVID 19 inside a house, accommodation or care facility. Students fitting within this definition must access a PCR or RAT test and follow quarantine protocols if the result proves to be positive.
Rapid Antigen Tests
We encourage families to conduct rapid tests on children on Monday and Wednesday mornings. Rapid test kits have been distributed to families. Please contact the office if your family has not received the latest round of kits.
Please note that students who have been confirmed cases should not complete a RAT for 30 days after a positive test as the result will not be accurate.
Face masks for P - 2 students remain optional but are encouraged.
Face masks for Yrs 3 - 6 are required while students are indoors. These masks must be supplied from home and need to be managed by the students themselves.
Students whose physical or mental health will be impacted by wearing a mask may be exempt from this regulation, but we ask parents to contact the school to confirm this. Medical certificates and letters from doctors are not required.
We have listed all students with asthma or known respiratory conditions as exempt. Adults are no longer required to wear masks outdoors.
Masks are required to be worn on buses to and from school also.
Student Illness and Symptoms
Students and staff who are unwell should not attend school.
Students displaying symptoms that are beyond what they normally experience with a known existing condition (ie hayfever) will be sent home.
Assemblies & Liturgies
Special whole school gatherings such as liturgies and assemblies can now be held, however we are still required to maintain separation of class levels. Parents attending must provide evidence of double vaccination.
Visiting Therapists and Allied Health
Visiting therapists and allied health may continue to visit, but must be triple vaccinated. We have encountered a minority who believe this does not apply to them - they are incorrect.
Our canteen is open Tuesday - Friday for lunch orders and also for small items at second recess.
Parent volunteers must be triple vaccinated and follow sign in procedures.
Students will be prompted to sanitise or wash their hands at key times across the day.
We ask that children not use their own hand sanitiser, unless this has been discussed with the school.
The school will continue to be progressively cleaned throughout the day, with our teaching staff ensuring surfaces are wiped down during school hours, complementing the work of our cleaning contractors after hours.
Food sharing will continue to be avoided unless individualised portions can be organised (ie. birthday celebrations).
Camps, Excursions, Interschool Sport
Most offsite activities can go ahead, with safety controls in place and some modification.
Before and after school care available at St Pius X
Book at: https://theircare.com.au/
Sunday Mass at 10.30am at St. Pius X Church. School families are always welcome.
The Parish office can be contacted on 55 62 2231.
Other information and contact details can be found on the Star of the Sea South West Coast website: https://www.ballarat.catholic.org.au/parish/southwestcoast/
Second Hand Uniforms
Families seeking uniform items are welcome to contact Angela Verspay (Mum to Dylan and Finn) who has stock of many donated uniform pieces. Ph: 0477660119.
School Canteen Roster
Tuesday, 22nd March - Anna McKenzie
Wednesday, 23rd March - Carlee Johnson
Thursday, 24th March - Nikkyta Bull
Friday, 25th March - Kerrie Donlon
Tomorrow: Pupil Free Day. ReLATE Professional Learning
Mar 21 Yr 5/6 swimming program commences
Mar 21 P & F Meeting 7.30pm
Mar 25 PSG Meetings
Mar 30 Let's Chat Habitat School Performance
Mar 31 SAC Meeting 7.30pm
Apr 4 School Photos (Full Summer uniform - not sports uniform)
Apr 8 Final day of Term 1
Apr 15 Good Friday
Apr 17 Easter Sunday
Apr 25 ANZAC Day
Apr 26 Term 2 begins