Term 1 Newsletter 15th Feb- 2024
Welcome to Week 4 – How are you fairing so far?
Quite often I receive many positive comments about the standard of behaviour of St Frannies kids, especially at events outside of school such as carnivals, excursions etc. Whilst it is reassuring to receive such comments, it should not come as any great surprise. We place high regard on regular check-ins with students on our expectations of behaviour, manners, and how to act in different contexts. I suppose you could call it “fence” or “boundary” maintenance. Children have an innate ability to detect a weak boundary and failure to maintain boundaries sends a wrong message, expectations fall, and strong culture diminishes.
There is an adage that school should be an extension of the home. One challenge for parents and schools is in this area of permissible behaviours and the establishment of appropriate support to ensure children’s potential can be developed and nurtured during these important formative years. “When must lights go out? When is homework to be done? Amount of screen time? When must you say please and thank you? What is the proper etiquette when entering a Church, theatre, friends’ house etc? Sportsmanship? And a host of other battlegrounds that can lead to the premature whitening of hair!
Some parents get exhausted by the warfare. Worn down by pester power and intimidated by their children’s growing physical strength and ability to have the last word, some parents capitulate. Others prefer to be their children’s best friend rather than their best parent. Kids need boundaries within which to operate. If the fences are weak and undefended, kids will break through. Repeatedly asking them not to lean on the fence is about as useless as playing the flute and expecting the rats to follow. It only happens in fairy tales. If a fence is weak as some parental and academic fences can be, many young people run the risk of crossing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.
A weak fence tells a young person that this particular expectation is not thought very important by adults…I wonder why it's not worth defending…I’ll give it a little nudge.
I have often said that primary school is the training ground for life. Kids won’t know what permissible or acceptable behaviour is if they are not taught to know what the boundaries are and experience regular reminders and consequences if the fence gets lent-on or at times jumped! There of course is no expectation of perfection. School is the training ground for becoming decent human beings. There will be times of trial and error. Kids will make mistakes and overstep the boundaries but how we respond will determine the success of turning these times into learning opportunities.
If we take the trouble to build a strong fence and expectations that will withstand the odd bump or two, the boundaries become both known and respected. Young people generally admire strength. The teachers who are strong are the ones who are remembered with genuine fondness. Care needs to be taken not to confuse the setting of boundaries with oppressive restrictions. The strong teacher and firm parent need not be strangers to compassion and sensitivity.
One particular area I always struggle to understand is weak boundaries around the uniform code and acceptable haircuts. Parents have a perfect ally in the school rules and Mr Red when it comes to ensuring the correct standard of uniform is worn or the most recent haircut fads is a cause for argument. School expectations and rules provide a clear boundary. Unfortunately, some parents may think…it's just a haircut or no big deal if they have different socks…why make a big deal about it? What this thinking fails to understand is that choosing to be a member of a community means that sometimes we have to accept things that we may not like, and that is a part of life. Most of us work out that we cannot just do what we want to do all the time.
Your ongoing effort in maintaining strong boundaries and supporting school expectations will greatly assist the ongoing success of the school community.
From a P&F to a PEN (Parent Engagement Network)
Thank you for your attendance for our First Parent Engagement Forum last week. In the coming weeks, we will advertise topics and dates for term 2 – if you would be interested in a particular topic for discussion/more information or are just interested, please email Mr Red – Brendan.email@example.com . Topics of interest could include Cyber Safety, Zones of Regulation, Connection with our Children etc…
I am sure you will join me (and when you see them next) in welcoming our roles in the PEN for 2024.
Chair – Ms Kylie Hay
Secretary – Mrs Kate Patterson
Principal – Mr Red
Co-ordinators for our Working Parties:-
- Uniform Shop – Ms Kylie Hay / Mrs Ellen Bridge
- Tuckshop – Mrs Carmel Stace
- Chip Van – Mrs Angela Skillington
- Bull Sales – Mrs Kate Patterson
- Show n Shine – Mrs Jess Johnson
- Pie Drive supervisor – Mellisa Nolan
(if you are interested in assisting with future events please let one of our amazing committee members know – we are always in need for helpers)
Cross Country Training – starting in week 6 – Tuesday 27 March
One particular fitness activity we have on offer for our students is cross country training on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8:00a.m on our beg. These sessions are not just for those interested in cross country running but a great way to improve fitness and train with your mates. In previous years, it has been great to see the increase in numbers in attendance. Spread the word as it would be great to see even more show up for a run on the oval on these mornings. A reminder that our annual cross country carnival will be held on Friday 22 March on our oval.
Prep 2025 -
Please continue to spread the word and promote this wonderful school. If you can direct interested families to enrol via our website, I would be sincerely grateful.
School Fees – Term One
Families should have received their first school fee invoices for the year this week. Please double check your emails and if you have not received one, contact the office asap. We have several options for families to pay these fees. Please do not hesitate to contact the offices should have you any questions or need assistance. It is vital that all families meet their financial commitment to the school. Not only is regular payment of fees a condition of enrolment, but school fees are also a major source of income. Consequently, our ability to continue to provide the best possible staffing levels and student resources relies heavily on your timely payment of school fees and levies.
Why do school fees exist?
They exist because Catholic schools, only receive 74% (Federal 58.4%; State Gov 15.6%) of the total cost associated with per student funding compared to 96.8% (76.3% State Gov; 20.5% Fed Gov) which Ed. Qld schools receive. School fees and levies exist to bridge the government funding shortfall. As you can see from the above figures, Ed. Qld schools’ main source of funding is received from the State Government while the majority of funding for Catholic Schools is sourced from the Federal Government.
Where do school fees & levies go?
As mentioned before, the fees and levies you pay are a major source of income and are directed towards additional teacher and support staff wages, classroom resourcing, capital projects, IT upgrades, building & grounds maintenance, library and curriculum resourcing and of course general operating expenses such as insurance, rates, electricity etc.
Families also need to keep in mind that the school has always strived to keep fees and levies to an absolute minimum. School fee amounts are reviewed at the end of each year and any necessary increases are discussed at length. When you consider the resourcing levels and amount of free of charge opportunities available for students here at St Francis de Sales, the level of fees is extremely reasonable. Of course, we do understand that from time to time, families fall on financial hardship. Our fees and levies are not designed to be a burden on any family. All we ask is that you contact the office to make an appointment to come in and discuss alternative payment options or concessions.
Thank you for reading and your continued support.
Project Compassion Started this Week with Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday
Written by Michael McGirr – Project Compassion
“Nelson Mandela said that education was the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. There are plenty of people who would agree with him, one of them is Oprah Winfrey. She said that education was the way to move mountains, build bridges and to change the world.
Each week during Lent, Caritas Australia asks us to think about a special story. We pray for all involved in the ministry of education. Like Jesus may they be clear, courageous and strong as they pass values of compassion and justice to future generations. May our support for Project Compassion continue to make education more widely available.
This week, each family would have received a project compassion box to begin our community’s compassion through action appeal. Each week the school will explain and put a face behind the money that we raise. Our students will be made aware of where their contribution goes too and what significant change they are in acting for people all over the world.
Changes to Calendar Events:
The list of school events are located on the school’s webpage – https://sfdssclifton.schoolzineplus.com/calendar
This is a great way of keeping up to date with upcoming events. Emails, notifications and Facebook posts will also occur throughout the year to inform and remind you of upcoming events etc. Please see the next couple of events happening very soon:-
13 Feb – Shrove Tuesday – Pancakes at St Francis de Sales
14 Feb – Ash Wednesday Liturgy – 9:00am; Valentine’s Day
15 Feb – CD swimming – Allora
17 Feb – Clifton Show
Week 5 – Family Week – No Homework
20 Feb – SD Swimming – WIRAC
21 Feb – Tennis CD noms due
22 Feb –
23 Feb – CD – B&G Soccer – Clifton; CD – Netball – St Pat’s Allora; CD – RL 11/12 yrs – Clifton – 12pm; Prep Screening here
25 Feb – Family Sunday Mass – 9:30am
26 Feb – School Photos
27 Feb –
28 Feb – DD Swimming – Gatton
29 Feb – SD B&G Soccer – Warwick; SD Netball – Warwick; SD RL – Warwick
1 Mar – Tennis – CD – Clifton
4 Mar – Basketball SD; Marty Visit 9:00am; Cricket DD trials – Harristown
5 Mar – Cricket DD Trials – Harristown; Touch SD Warwick Scots
6 Mar –
7 Mar –
8 Mar – Nobby Triathlon
Week 8 Newsletter Week; NAPLAN ONLINE BEGINS
11 Mar – Netball – DD – Glennie; Tennis SD noms due
12 Mar –
13 Mar – NAPLAN Testing
14 Mar – NAPLAN Testing
15 Mar – NAPLAN Testing
Week 9 - NAPLAN ONLINE; Parent Teacher Interviews
18 Mar – NAPLAN Testing; St Patrick’s Day
19 Mar – NAPLAN Testing;
20 Mar – NAPLAN testing period; Tennis SD – Clifton
21 Mar – NAPLAN testing period; Softball DD – Kearney Springs; Harmony Day
22 Mar – NAPLAN testing period; St Francis Cross Country;
23 Mar –
24 Mar – Family Sunday Mass – 9:30am / Palm Sunday
Week 10 – Newsletter Week Holy Week Celebrations; NAPLAN ONLINE; Parent Teacher Interviews
25 Mar – NAPLAN testing period
26 Mar – Basketball DD – Twmba; Swimming State – Chandler
27 Mar –
28 Mar – Easter Liturgy – 2pm; Holy Thursday
29 Mar – Good Friday
Looking forward to seeing a great turn out for our Parent Information Sessions this week.
Today, I thought I would share why there has been a bigger shift to phonics and decoding when we teach students to read. There's only one way to work out words.....decoding! Gone are the days of guessing words, picture cues and context cues. We need to teach and support students to use their letter/sound knowledge and blending skills. To have a skillful reader, the student needs to orthographically map the word. This means that the student needs to see the word, and know by sight, what that word is. But how we actually achieve this, is not through whole word memorisation. What we actually do in our brain is part to remember parts of the words, to the whole word. The student has to know what sound matches each symbol (the letter).
Our Preps and Year Ones have been doing a great job to learn what sound each letter makes, and then they have been manipulating these sounds to turn them into different words. When you learn the sounds of s, a, t, p, i, n, you can make many words- sat, pin, in, sin, tin, nit, sit pat etc. When we teach reading, we are reinforcing these sounds and practicing writing the letters as well. The linking of reading and writing is essential!
Even in the upper grades, we link our phonograms to our writing. When we learn a trigraph ‘igh’ we write these in words in our spelling. Did you know that ‘igh’ is sometimes followed by a t. That way, we read them and write them. We also discuss any relevant rules and the origin of our words. For example, in the word ‘dance’ the letter e makes the c say the soft sound of s. however, in the word ‘little’ the e is placed on the end as little has two syllables and each syllable must have a vowel.
Prep/ Yr 1/ Yr 2/ Yr3
We have started our Math learning cycle on shape. We are learning to name, sort, describe and recognise 2D shapes. We are learning some challenging shapes from the quadrilateral family including rhombus, parallelogram and trapezium.
During English we have been learning to read and write narratives. A narrative is a made up story. The author's purpose when writing a narrative is to entertain the reader. Our mentor text is The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race. We have been using the text to write a character description.
In Science lessons we've been exploring matter. We've learnt about solids, liquids and gases. We have considered how melting and freezing changes the state of particles. We are excited to investigate more on our messy science day on Friday.
Year 4/5/6 News
Can your child tell you some of our wonderful vocabulary we have discovered in our reading unit? It has been so much fun to locate different words and write a ‘friendly meaning’ for each of them.
In Religion, students have responded to the focus question: What is faith? The students were able to give their own definition of faith and an example of how the school is a faith community. As our unit progresses, we will review what students know about the psalms.
In English, we created a joint story about a lady who fell down a hole. In the upper grades, the students are encouraged to ‘show’ not ‘tell’ the story. This means, when they are writing, the student will show us how their characters are feeling by using the five senses. For example a ‘tell’ story would be:
Rita went walking along the streets of Clifton one day.
She was so busy looking at the specials at Binny Bow’s that she tripped and fell into a hole.
A “show” story would be:
Rita pushed back her greying hair and adjusted her sunglasses as she walked down the main street of Clifton. Her calf muscles screamed at her as she rushed by Binny Bow’s. “Surely,” she thought, “my calf muscles can’t be sore, I only did 20 minutes of gardening yesterday.” Glancing at the beautiful pink floral dress hanging on the discount rack, she lost her footing and with a thump, fell into a large hole in the footpath.
In Mathematics, we have begun learning about time. The Year 4s are learning to read the clock with minutes to and minutes past. Year 5s are learning about 24 hour time and learning to calculate durations between two times. The Year 6s will be reading timetables and calculating durations between times.
PE with Mrs Malbon and Mr Red
Cross country practise and tennis skills have continued this week. Hopefully you can see a difference in the students’ energy levels and overall fitness. All the very best to the St Francis Swim Team who will compete at the Central Downs Swimming Trials this Thursday.
PEN UNIFORM SHOP
Uniform Shop Co-Ordinator: Kylie Hay
Contact Details: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0487 582 107
Uniform Shop Days: MOST Thursdays & Fridays
If you would like uniforms, please fill in the updated Invoice Sheet and email or text Kylie to either arrange a time to meet or for the order to be sent home with your child. If you have an old invoice copy, please bin it and replace with our updated one. This can be found on the Facebook page or request one from me directly.
UNIFORM SHOP NEWS
- We have some good quality second hand winter uniforms and also summer uniforms available for $5 per item if you’re looking for an extra jumper, shirt, shorts etc. Please note that only limited sizes and items are available but you are welcome to request second hand if available.
- We are no longer stocking the following items however we still have limited stock available for a discounted price if you would still like to purchase them.
- Green Fleece Vest $10
- Sizes 4,6,8,12 & 14 available
- Long Sleeve Boys Polo Shirts $15
- Sizes 4,10,12,14 & Small available
- Girls Green Long Formal Pants $10
- All sizes except 10 available
- Girls Green Long Sports Pants $15
- Sizes 4,6,8,10 & 16 available
- Green Fleece Vest $10
If you urgently require uniforms on a day other than Thursday or Friday, please let me know and I can arrange this with the staff at St Francis De Sales. Please note I do work and will get back to you as soon as I possibly can.
STUDENT PROTECTION CONTACTS
Feeling Safe- All students have a right to feel safe and be safe.
If you are concerned about any form of abuse that is immediate, you should call 000. A significant risk or harm to a student, whether or not you have formed this belief on reasonable ground, should immediately be raised with one of our Student Protection Contacts.
We do recommend the setting-up of a direct debit facility to pay regular amounts into the school account. This alleviates overdue bills.
SCHOOL Bank Details