Dear Parents and Carers,
Welcome to the 2020 school year.
It has been a challenging start to the New Year for many, many people. We continue to keep people and animals impacted by the bushfires, drought, heat, air quality issues, Coronavirus and other natural disasters in our prayers and thoughts. On behalf of our school community, I wanted to offer a huge vote of thanks to the volunteer rural fire service members, helicopter and plane pilots, defence force personnel and reservists, as well as all of the other first responders who have been, and continue to be, so generous and brave in their actions. So many more lives would have been lost if it wasn’t for their efforts. It makes you proud to be Australian when you see people rallying to help each other.
Thank you for your support of the school when we have had to make adjustments to student learning and play. Please be assured that St Anthony’s is following the protocols and policies provided by the ACT Directorate and Catholic Education for each of the instances highlighted above. Now parts of the country are experiencing flooding and a cyclone!
We are all hoping that the bushfire threat and smoke continue to reduce this week. School staff will continue to monitor the health and wellbeing of all students and members of our community, particularly those more vulnerable and sensitive to the current conditions. If you or your child require any support please contact the school. Please see below that we now have a new school counsellor.
Backpacks for Schools Initiative
Shortly after the devastating New Years Eve bushfires and the fires that were continuing, St Anthony’s staff rallied together to support families and schools impacted. Well done to staff members Tracey Adamson and Angela Ryan for their idea and planning to have our community and many others donate school supplies for those in need. They knew going back to school would be a stressful time and it would come around quickly! It may be the last thing on the minds of those parents affected. Other southside primary schools including Holy Family, St Thomas the Apostle, St Francis of Assisi, St Benedict’s and St John Vianney’s joined in the initiative.
Over a period of about a week, hundreds of donations came in and were stored in the school hall. With the help of other staff, the supplies were put into school backpacks, well in excess of 700! Extra supplies and donations were then organised into school packs for staff in these schools.
Backpacks and supplies were delivered to many schools in affected areas - State, Independent and Catholic schools, including:
- St Bernard’s Batehaven
- Quaama Public School
- Cobargo Public School
- St Peter’s Anglican School Broulee
- St Mary’s Moruya
- Mogo School and Mogo Pre-school
- Lumen Christi Pambula
- St Patrick’s Bega
- Tanka Public School
- St Joseph’s Bombala
- St Mary’s Batlow
- St Joseph’s Adelong
I believe some backpacks and supplies may have also gone to schools on the South Coast and also in the Tumbarumba and Tumut regions.
Prayers Please for Waller and Frazer Families
Please continue to keep Sarah Waller, her mother Ruth, Josh at OOSCA, and all her family in your prayers and thoughts after her father Rod’s passing last Thursday evening at the age of 84. The Waller and Frazer families have a long association with Catholic Education and St Anthony’s. Sarah’s three children, Josh, Rebecca and Gabby, all attended St Anthony’s. Sarah’s sister, Claire, taught at St Anthony’s. Josh works at OOSCA. Rod was president of the Southern Cross Club and held many other roles for many years. Rod’s funeral is 11.00am this coming Friday 14th February. A number of staff will attend. May Rod be at peace now in the presence and hands of God.
Please keep Maree Alchin in your thoughts. Maree has a foot injury that was sustained at home in November that has still not healed properly. Maree will not be in the canteen this week. Thank you to our P&F President, Selina Walker, for stepping in to manage the canteen this week. Thanks Selina.
Please keep Anit-ann Tomy in your prayers. Anit-ann has delayed her start at the ELC as her son is very unwell at the moment and has been in hospital. We hope that he is better soon.
Meet-the-2020-Staff Evening - Thursday 13 February
Week 2 is a great opportunity to meet our 2020 staff. You are invited to visit your child/children’s classrooms to meet their teachers and other staff supporting them this Thursday evening 13th February from 5.30-7.00pm. Teachers will provide information about the learning programs, homework, administration, communication, sacraments, excursions, camps etc. You will have a chance to meet teachers and staff and have a brief chat about your child.
Year 1-6 teachers will be available any time throughout the period of 5.30pm - 7.00pm.
The Kindergarten teachers will present a formal session which will be presented at 5.30pm and then repeated at 6.15pm.
The ELC will be open from 5:00pm - 6:00pm.
During this time we encourage you to spend some time mingling and talking to other families in the school. The school will provide platters of nibbles as a snack and some light refreshments. I hope that as many parents and carers as possible take up this opportunity to meet class teachers, support staff and other staff.
Welcome New Staff and Staff in New Roles
Miss Susannah Hoff - Congratulations to Miss Hoff. She is teaching Year 1 Padua. Miss Hoff did her university placement here at St Anthony’s in 2019 in Kindergarten and knows many of the students already. I am impressed with her progress as a teacher and I wish her good luck as she has her own class for 2020.
Mrs Sarah Stephens - I am pleased to announce that Mrs Sarah Stephens is teaching Year 4 Padua. Mrs Stephens has returned to her home city Canberra with her husband after teaching for a number of years in Townsville. She has taught a range of year levels and has been involved in a number of strategic initiatives and programs to support student learning in her previous school so she will be an asset to St Anthony’s community.
Miss Beth Lehmensich - Miss Beth Lehmensich is in the role of Acting Religious Education Coordinator in 2020. Miss Lehmensich acted in this role in 2017 and 2018 so she brings these experiences to the role again. Good luck to Miss Lehmensich, who also continues her student wellbeing role.
Mrs Angie Kisiel - Mrs Angie Kisiel is in the role of Acting Curriculum Coordinator in 2020. Mrs Kisiel was in an executive position in 2019 and she brings a love of teaching and her experience to this curriculum role. Good luck Mrs Kisiel.
Mrs Bernadette Whitfield - Miss Whitfield continues in the position of Classroom Support Teacher, but in a full time capacity in 2020. Miss Whitfield understands the role and has a wealth of teaching experience and knowledge of students and families at the school. Miss Whitfield leads our team of nine classroom support assistants. I wish Miss Whitfield good luck continuing in this role.
Mrs Janice Spackman - Mrs Janice Spackman returns part time in 2020 and will also be a Classroom Support Teacher. She will be in the school Mondays and Fridays. Mrs Spackman has been at the school for 10 years and knows many of our students and families well. Good luck to Mrs Spackman.
Mrs Lisa Daly - Mrs Lisa Daly is teaching Year 2 Lisbon full time in 2020, a role which she also undertook in 2018 before teaching music classes in 2019. Mrs Daly has had an association as a parent and teacher at St Anthony’s for about 20 years. Good luck to Mrs Daly on her return to teaching Year 2.
New Early Learning Centre Staff
There have also been some changes to the staff in the St Anthony’s Early Learning Centre in 2020.
- Mrs Rebecca McKay - Mrs McKay is the new teacher of the full time ELC Koalas Class.
- Mrs Janice Stephanuti - Mrs Stephanuti is in the role of Educator and part time After School Care Coordinator.
- Mrs Jenna Pulford - Mrs Pulford is in the role of Educator and part time After School Care Coordinator.
- Mrs Anit-Ann Tomy - Mrs Tomy is in the role of Educator and After School Care Assistant.
I warmly welcome all of our new ELC staff, they join a very caring and professional ELC team led by our Director Mrs Michelle Woodward.
New CatholicCare Counsellor Has Started in 2020
This year St Anthony’s welcomes our new CatholicCare school counsellor Mercedes Pasco. Mercedes will provide 21 counsellor hours per fortnight. Mercedes will work at the school Mondays, alternate Tuesdays and some Wednesdays as per the timetable below. If your child would benefit from counselling, both parents must sign the permission form which can be obtained by contacting staff in our school front office. School counselling service requests are considered on a needs basis, with options available for support outside of school time by CatholicCare in other locations if demand is more than we can provide in the time allocated. I wish Mercedes good luck in her role at St Anthony’s. We are delighted to have you join our community.
Changes to School Hours for 2020
Thank you to all parents and carers for their support in managing the changes to St Anthony’s school hours in 2020. The core hours for the primary school are now:
- 8.30am Drive Through Drop Off and Teacher Supervision Starts
- 8.55am School Commences (same as previous time)
- 3.05pm School Concludes
- 3.30pm Drive Through Pick Up/Oval Crossing and Teacher Supervision Ends
A primary school day at St Anthony’s now consists of a total of 6 hours and 10 minutes. This change brings St Anthony’s more in line with ‘time at school’ of other ACT Catholic Primary Schools and many government schools. The main change is that all primary students will now be dismissed at the same time, 3.05pm. Transport Canberra bus services and rural bus services continue to provide services to our students at different times in the afternoon. Buses will come through with the cars at drive through time in the afternoon. Morning driveway arrangements are unchanged.
Supervision times by teachers before and after school are listed above. Please note that the afternoon pick up supervision time ends 15 minutes earlier in 2020 in line with the new finish time. Students unable to be picked up by parents and carers by 3.30pm will be walked to OOSCA by staff and a late fee may be applied to cover their staff ratios. Thanks for your cooperation with the changes.
In school term time, Our Early Learning Centre (ELC) day program hours will remain as 9.00am - 3.00pm.
In school term time, Our OOSCA (Out-of-Hours School Care Association) hours of operation will be as follows:
- 7.30am - 8.45am
- 3.05pm - 6.00pm
Information on holiday care times for 2020 will be provided to parents by the Directors of both the ELC and OOSCA.
2020 School Board - Expressions of Interest Sought for Parent Representatives
There is an opportunity for a number of new parent representatives to join the St Anthony’s School Board from 2020. Vacancies have been created by parent representatives finishing their current terms of appointment. I will provide more details about this shortly and thank these wonderful parent representatives.
If you are interested in joining the School Board you are required to complete a short expression of interest form with some general details and have this supported by another member of the school community. In the event of more parents wishing to join the School Board than places available (quite rare), an election is required.
There has been one expression of interest for parent positions on the School Board to this point. You may still volunteer for a parent position by this Friday 14 February 2020. The first School Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 19 February.
New parents and carers of students in Kindergarten are also welcome to apply for positions on the School Board or P&F (see below for P&F update).
Being a member of the School Board is a great way to contribute to the ongoing governance of the school. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to ask a member of our current Board or myself. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact the Front Office for nomination information.
2020 Parents and Friends Association News
St Anthony’s has the most amazing group of volunteers! We have a good number of parents, carers, grandparents and visitors that support the school and its initiatives in so many ways, including through the P&F Association. The P&F is the main body that coordinates parent involvement and parent engagement. From my perspective as principal, I really encourage parents to be involved in the life of the school and you enrich so many of your children’s experiences by actively being involved.
St Anthony’s has been able to maintain a range of very successful programs over many years. People stand up most of the time and support the events that interest them or are on when they are able to make it. However, a concerning trend for the P&F has emerged - very few parents and carers are able or interested in attending meetings. Attendance of a minimum ‘cohort’ (10 people) at these meetings fulfils its constitutional obligations and allows parents to make decisions with input from a good base of parents and carers within the school. Numbers at our meetings recently have been lucky to hit 6 attendees.
If you wish to see the P&F continue and thrive we need YOUR SUPPORT NOW! The first meeting is on Wednesday 26th February (Week 4). What future lies for the P&F is up to you.
MAKE THE P&F GREAT AGAIN! (Sorry for the political reference)
We are so lucky to have Selina Walker as our current P&F President so you can be reassured of her passion and leadership.
St Anthony’s New Classroom Building Program Update
The building project will begin shortly. Tenders closed at the end of 2019 and shortly a successful builder will be announced. We will soon see some action on the site and the area at the back of the school blocked off. I will know more information shortly but I am hoping that disruptions to the school will be kept to a minimum. It is very exciting that the project will be underway soon!
2020 School Fees
School fee statements for Term One will be sent home in Week 2. The total 2020 fees include a slight overall increase due to an increase in the system tuition fee by Catholic Education. Our school local levies have not increased this year. You are reminded that you will need to contact Katie Akers in the front office and increase your periodical electronic payments to meet your 2020 obligations.
If anyone is experiencing difficulty meeting their 2020 fee payments please contact Katie in the front office to make an appointment with me to discuss your situation. You are required to complete an information form to bring to this meeting. Once assessed an appropriate fee concession may be possible. Parents and carers who received a fee concession in 2019 are required to apply again for 2020. Catholic Education provides guidelines to support principals in this process.
Some Upcoming Term One/Term 2 Dates:
- Sacramental Enrolment Period - Monday 10 February - Friday 28 February
- Meet the 2020 Staff - Thursday 13 February 5.30-7.00pm
- Year 1L Community Prayer - Friday 14 February 9am
- Year 6 Badge Presentation Liturgy - Monday 17 February 9.30am (Time TBC)
- Year 4A Community Prayer - Friday 21 February 9am
- Ash Wednesday Liturgy - Wednesday 26 February 10am
- Year 2 Questacon Excursion - Thursday 27 February
- Year 3 Grade Mass - Sunday 1 March 9am
- Year 4 Assembly - Friday 13 March 2.00pm
- Swimming Carnival and Water Fun Day - Friday 20 March
- Tuggeranong PSSA Carnival - Tuesday 31 March
- Cross Country Carnival - Thursday 2 April 11.45am Start
- Year 5 Grade Mass - Sunday 5 April 9am
- Stations of the Cross Liturgy - Holy Thursday 9 April 10am
- St Anthony’s School Fete - Saturday 2 May
- Year 4 Grade Mass - Sunday 3 May 9am
- Year 6 Camp Narrabeen Sydney - Week 2 Term 2.
** Please always check dates on the school calendar updates and with teachers/children. Sometimes a community prayer or assembly day/time can change.
All the best for the week ahead.