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Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome to the 2019 school year! It was lovely to see the children return on Monday and to hear their stories of holiday adventures. Whatever your family did, I hope it provided time for rest, rejuvenation and some precious family time.

This year we welcome a number of new students and families to our school. In Kindy, we welcome Isaiah Macri, Charlie Miotti, Georgie Matthews, Leeam Viloria and Jack Sibley. In Pre-Primary, we welcome the Noonan family and Chevin; and the Pearce family and Ned. In Year 2, Willa is Ned’s sister; and in Year 5, we welcome Xavier Coffey and his family. I wish all our new students and their families a long and happy association with our school.

We also welcome new staff members, Ms Esther Kerr and Miss Sarah Wright. Esther is our Year 5/6 teacher on Mondays and Tuesdays, working with Ms Sandra Gianoli. Esther is an experienced teacher of both primary and high school students. Sarah is working as our K/PP Education Assistant on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in our Year 1/2 classroom on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Although not new, we welcome Miss Coakley back with her new name: Mrs Guidi!

Congratulations to Millie and Jayden on their wedding in the holidays, and also on the news that they have a baby on the way. As thrilled as we are for Millie, we are terribly sad to be losing her at the end of this semester. We are also sad to be farewelling Mrs Leigh-Aire Hall, who has worked in the office one day a week. We wish Mrs Hall and her family all the best as they prepare to move to the Esperance region at the end of February.

This year is going to be a busy one with a number of projects planned, underway or already completed.

  • The retaining wall around our top playground and replacing old, builder’s sand with new, washed beach sand in accordance with soft fall regulations, has been completed. The bottom playground is also earmarked for this work at a later stage
  • Extensive work was also carried out on trees in our K/PP, bottom oval and Nature Playground areas. Trees that were unhealthy, dangerous or over-crowded were removed and the remaining trees were canopy thinned and pruned to promote future growth and health. The mulch has also been used as soft fall ground cover in our Nature Playground
  • Our fabulous K/PP playground renovation was unfortunately postponed from the promised midJanuary start and will now start within the next couple of weeks. While disappointing, we are excited to be able to watch this project unfold before our eyes and to see the amazing finished product
  • Our new spelling program from PP to Year 6 is called PLD (Promoting Literacy Development) and got underway last Friday, with staff completing online training. The benefits of having one program for all students will be enormous and will provide familiar routines and structures for students, as well as allowing staff to have conversations around common practices, including data and assessment gathering
  • Literacy routines and structures are also being addressed as we begin our journey to establish Literacy Dedicated Time in all classes at the school. Again, common structures and expectations will streamline learning for our students, and teachers will use data to inform their planning, teaching and assessment cycles. This year St Bernard’s will be part of the CEWA Literacy and Numeracy Pilot, which will involve four days of supported professional development.
  • The MJR philosophy will be a focus this year with students, staff and families exploring what it means to Make Jesus Real in our daily lives. Values and behaviours such as saying hello, treating others as we would want them to treat us, having a go, bouncing back from disappointments and reflecting on the day’s events will be reinforced as we move through the year. Our pupil free day on Friday 5th April, will see our staff travel to Albany to attend an MJR day at St Joseph’s College with Peter Mitchell, the founder of MJR
  • This year is the International Year of Indigenous Languages and, as part of our Aboriginal Education Plan, and in line with our  commitment to community building, we will be developing a whole school Noongar language project. More details to follow!

As we begin the year of learning, I would like to reinforce with all parents that, due to our new approaches to literacy and spelling, we will be working hard and spending the necessary time to establish routines and expectations with all students. I have asked teachers to take their time at this early stage of the year to work with the students to help them practice and consolidate what will be expected of them before the real work in these areas begin. We are also spending this time finalising our assessment data so that we know exactly where all students sit and how best to target their learning. This may mean that structures around home reading and spelling will take a little longer to be established. Please support our teachers in taking this very important time to establish their routines and expectations and to gather their student data – time spent now will be well spent later. I encourage you to come and see me if you have any queries or concerns. I would like to commend our teachers and EAs for the way they have embraced this new learning and approaches to teaching – we are all on an exciting learning journey together.

Finally, important dates coming up to note:

  • Tuesday 12th February – P&F meeting to plan for Goods and Services Auction
  • Thursday 14th February – Our Beginning of Year Whole School Mass at 9am at St Bernard’s Church.
    It would be lovely if you could join us
  • Tuesday 19th February – The Parent Information Evening and P&F Welcome has been moved to the same day as the School Board and P&F AGMs. The AGMs are open to all members of our school community and I would encourage you to support both of these important parent bodies, which bring so much benefit to all our students and families.
    • 3.15pm – School Board and P&F AGMs – everyone invited
    • 4.15pm – P&F Welcome and refreshments
    • 4.30pm – General school information presentation to all families
    • 4.45pm – Parent Information sessions in individual classes begin; 20 minutes in each class – timetable to be advised
    • 6.00pm – Finish (P&F Welcome will continue to 6.30pm, BYO refreshments)
  • Friday 22nd February – Swimming Carnival from 10am – please see note coming home tomorrow Friday 15th March – P&F Goods and Services Auction


I look forward to seeing you at these events.

God Bless,
Mrs Sharon Marino

St Bernard's

Catholic Primary School


11 Katanning Road,
Kojonup WA 6395
08 9831 3500

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