St Joseph’s Primary School - O'Connor
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Boronia Drive
O'Connor ACT 2602

Phone: 02 6248 9818
Fax: 02 6247 1792

Week 5 Term 1 2021 Newsletter

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Week 5 Term 1 2021 Newsletter

This week as I sought inspiration for my prayer, I came across 40 prayers for Lent. There were lots that would have be great, but I came across this one, so on behalf of all our students and staff, we pray this prayer for our parents and carers.

“God, thank you for my parents. Please draw them close to yourself today. Give them peace, joy, strength and wisdom in decision making. Help them to know You, love You and want to serve You more.”


Our Professional Learning Community

Our vision at St Joseph’s is to grow in excellence within a Christ-centred community. We certainly aspire to keep this front and centre when working with and supporting our students. To be able to do this, as a staff we continue to challenge what we are doing and seek ways to improve and to learn. We aim to grow in excellence, so your children experience great teaching and learning.

This year our Annual Improvement Plan has three key goals –

Key Improvement Goal 1 To implement the principles of instruction for High Impact Teaching Practice (HITP) to improve student outcomes.
Key Improvement Goal 2 To improve student outcomes in Literacy through school and system agreed pedagogical practices and using critically reviewed resourcing.
Key Improvement Goal 3 To improve student outcomes in Numeracy through school and system agreed pedagogical practices and using critically reviewed resourcing.

Each week in some way, teachers meet in grade teams, TLCs (Teaching and Learning Communities) or as a whole staff to specifically work on these three goals. What it currently looks like in practice -

Key Improvement Goal 1
  • Every teacher and classroom support assistant across our system engaged in a shared professional learning day on 28 January, learning about cognitive load and the Science of Learning.
  • Each teacher in our school has identified ways to apply considered ‘questioning’ strategies within the classroom to better engage students and to identify student understanding.
  • Each teacher in our school will complete the next online learning module on the Science of Learning in a staff meeting this term.
  • All staff will engage in a system-wide professional learning session on Monday 19 April (pupil free day) to deepen our understanding of High Impact Teaching Practices.
Key Improvement Goal 2
  • All teachers in Foundation to Year 2, plus Amy Doszpot, Jo Krippner, Zoe Cawdron and Cameron Tarrant completed 2 days of professional learning in 2020 around the introduction of the InitiaLit phonics program.
  • InitiaLit phonics program has been introduced in Foundation to Year 2, providing a consistent and structured approach to teaching reading and spelling.
  • All teachers working in grade teams, led by Michele Vuli, to review the current literacy programs and working as a whole staff to develop an agreed practice by the end of 2021.
Key Improvement Goal 3
  • All teachers undertook professional learning in January 2020 looking at developing the students’ ability to explain their mathematical thinking through make, say, write, do prompts.
  • All teachers continuing to work with Esther Coghlan on applying these strategies, but also incorporating the above questioning focus and also grade specific review of numeracy program, to develop an agreed practice by the end of 2021.

As a learning community, our staff continually strive to reflect on their practice and work collaboratively to find ways to improve and to provide a dynamic learning experience for the students. I thank all the staff for their commitment to what we do and know that as a school, we are growing in excellence within and Christ-centred community.


The above school-wide goals are also part of a systemic Catholic Education initiative called Catalyst. The underpinning belief behind Catalyst is that through providing targeted professional learning for our teachers, that improved student outcomes for all students in our schools will be the result. Catalyst has two bold goals –

Catalyst Bold Goal 1 Every student is a competent reader.
Catalyst Bold Goal 2 High Impact Teaching Practice is evident in every classroom.

At St Joseph’s we are confident that through our ongoing efforts to build professional capacity in our teachers, that we will be an example to others.

For the remainder of this week, I am attending a Principal’s Retreat where we will be continuing to learn more about these system-wide goals and how as a school we can engage fully in this professional learning opportunity.

Please feel free to speak to me at any stage if you would like to find out more about what we are working towards this year and beyond.

Have a great end to the week.

Yours in Christ,

Cameron Tarrant


Project Compassion Appeal - ‘Be More’

Last week our Wellbeing Team counted the donations from each class. Our accumulated total so far is $97.35. The Year 6 Team has added this to our tally thermometer. They will be counting the donations every Friday and adding to our thermometer in the hope that in 4 weeks we reach our goal.

What your money can do?

$5 buys a chicken that provides eggs for a school

$10 supplies a family with a COVID19 prevention kit in a refugee camp

$20 provides a school with COVID19 prevention training

$40 provides a community with warm blankets

$70 can provide fabric to make 1000 face masks to prevent community transmission

Think about what you can do to earn money that can be donated to Project Compassion. What sacrifices can you make so that you can ‘be more’ this Lent?



Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be held next Wednesday 10 March at 6pm. The following students are currently preparing to receive the sacrament and will finalise their preparation at the retreat day next Wednesday.

Aaron P

Miriam S

Sophia R

Mary C

Evie P

Bonnie P

Emily G

Marvin R

Henry A

Emanuel S

Amy D

Luke D

Kobe P

Sophia A

Connor J

Taj T

Maddison D

Lara S

Luerice G

Dev J

Patrick M

Dylan M

Scarlett S

Alice P

Ted V

Alex M


Important Term 1 Dates:

  • Reconciliation Retreat Day (Wednesday 10 March)
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation (6pm, Wednesday 10 March)
  • Feast of St Joseph (Friday 19 March)

Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions and limited numbers we are unable to invite parents to whole school liturgies.

For further information or any questions, please feel free to contact me on via email: 

Michelle Vuli

Religious Education Coordinator

Defence School Mentor News
When a parent is deployed for a significant time, it can be really hard for so many reasons. Year 1 came together to help support one of their classmates whose dad has been deployed overseas. We talked about what we might miss most about being away, and we focused on the significant items in our care package. Each child also included a personal letter! We think it will be a great surprise to our Defence member so far away.

Community News

On 31 March 2021, the Royal Australian Air Force will mark 100 years as an independent service. This is a significant national milestone. Air Force has established a public website:

There will be an Air Force fly-past in Canberra on 31 March, more details of the flight path to come soon.

Sally Adams

Defence School Mentor

Italian News

As a whole school, in Italian, we have been learning about Carnevale celebrations in Venice. Students have been working on creating their own Carnevale masks. Here are some of their fantastic works.

Shakira Beale

Italian Teacher 

Sustainability in Action

On Friday, the Stewardship Team, dressed in Green, announced the Greenie Points awarded to each classroom. The team addressed the findings of aluminum foil in the rubbish bins and the need to put it in the mixed recyclables. Congratulations to 1 Purple who is in the lead.


This week, look out for an energy audit!

Coming Week 6, students will earn Greenie Points for nude food lunches. You can prepare now by ensuring students have no packaged foods, glad wrap or alfoil. Each student can earn a point for their classroom by avoiding any waste items!



“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”– Anne Marie Bonneau, The Zero Waste Chef




Ryan McGee

Sustainability Coordinator

Happy birthday to these students celebrating their birthdays this week:


Nicholas G
Zoe G
Emilia R
Eloise McD
Azrielle T
Callum A
Daniel G
Shamita B

Congratulations to this week's award recipients. 

Students receive their award at Friday morning assembly at 8.50am. Parents are again welcome to attend this assembly, but photos will continue to be taken each week and shared via SZapp. 

Foundation Red

Sebastian B

Mia M

Foundation White
1 Purple

Ryan L

Raksha N

1 Teal

Ivy E

Charlie G

2 Magenta

Gianluca P

Tresa S

Chloe R

2 Yellow

Moira K

Amelia T

3 Black

Leurice G

Makur W

Madison A

3 Navy

Sophia A

James M

4 Gold

Ugyen P

Eoin S

4 Green

Sophie G

Aidan McG

5 Blue

Odette S

James A

5 Orange

Diego L

Jacob H

6 Lime

Jeremy S

Celeste P

6 Silver

Josie S

Thomas F

Sustainability Esmee V F


To help keep the costs of the canteen as low as possible, we are asking if you are able to donate non perishable items at any time throughout the year.  Below is a table listing items needed for first term, thank you.

Wholemeal Self Raising Flour & Self Raising Flour

White Sugar & Caster Sugar

Bicarb and Baking Soda

Rolled Oats


Tinned Two Fruit

Fruit Salad

Spiral & Macaroni Pasta

Canned diced Tomatoes

Woolworths Traditional Pasta sauce

Woolworths Juice Apple, Orange & Apple &  Blackcurrant

Oil – Spray & Canola Oil liquid

Cocoa Powder

Long life Custard

Glad Wrap, Foil & Baking Paper

Toilet Cleaner

Dishwashing Tablets

Toilet Cleaner & Brush

Scourer Sponges

Hand Wash


Paper Towel

Dishwashing Liquid



If you are able to give any time at all volunteering in the canteen on a Thursday between 9:00am and 11:30am, even 30 minutes to help pack lunches, please email me or pop in and say hello.



Canteen Manager