The School Newsletter Week 1, Term 3 2020

From the PrinciPAL

Welcome back to school after what has been a well-deserved break for the students, parents, carers and staff of St Patrick’s. I am looking forward to the challenges of Term 3 – possibly a less hectic term than usual, and one which will allow us to maintain a strong focus on our core business of teaching and learning.

Next Sunday’s Gospel reading (16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A) is taken from Matthew Chapter 13. In this Gospel, Jesus attempts to explain the meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven by comparing it to, among other things, a mustard seed, a treasure hidden in a field, and a merchant in search of fine pearls.

For example, in Matthew 13:23, Jesus speaks about the seed falling on good soil. In this parable, he refers to someone who hears the Word of God and understands it. This is the person who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Jesus wants me to be this kind of person. I have a choice as to what kind of soil I will be for the seed. When I am faced with a difficult choice, I can choose to respond to the Gospel, or I can choose to fall away. That is the message that Jesus gives me.

These parables are very relevant to us today. It is important for us to know what we really want in life, and what we really want to happen in our lives. The “Kingdom of Heaven” parables prompt us to seek what is most important in our lives – those things that give our lives meaning and sense.

So, the Kingdom of Heaven is not just an end-of-time spiritual realm. Jesus tells us that the beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven can be found here and now in this world. I can be a Kingdom person by embracing and sharing the values of God’s Kingdom, and by becoming the best person that I can possibly become.

How do I search for the treasure in the field and the finest pearl?

  • Do I find God in my heart, in my life?
  • Am I a good catch? Am I a good Christian?
  • Am I sign of God’s reign? Do I manifest God’s presence in my family and in my community?

Have a good week.

Peter Green.

covid-19 school guidelines

During the school holidays, we have all seen the rapid acceleration of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, as well as a few clusters of COVID-19 cases in parts of Sydney. This is not a moment for complacency. We must all take personal responsibility for maintaining practices that will prevent the spread of the virus.

Our Diocesan Director of Schools, Gerard Mowbray, has issued a number of guidelines to all schools. I will summarise those guidelines that apply to our school. Please be aware the situation may change, and updates to these guidelines are likely:

1. The following adults are permitted to enter the school site:

  • Parents who run the uniform and canteen service.
  • Parents/Carers who wish to either purchase second-hand uniforms or try on new uniforms for size. (Note: EFTPOS sales only for second-hand uniforms – no cash sales).
  • Parents/carers who need to attend face-to-face parent-teacher meetings for discussing disciplinary or other welfare matters.
  • Tutors who deliver The Music Bus program.
  • Staff from MSP Photography who will take the class photos on Tuesday 11th August. (Note: Individual photos only – no group photos).
  • Catholic Schools Office staff who are delivering a service to the school.
  • Allied health providers, wellbeing and case management professionals (including NDIS suppliers).
  • Family and Community Services personnel.

2. External visitors providing a service to the school during school hours must read and sign a form to acknowledge that they have no flu-like symptoms and that they agree to follow the school’s safety and hygiene measures.

3. Non-essential adults are not permitted on school grounds or at school events, unless for extraordinary reasons and specifically approved by the principal.

4. Additional hygiene and cleaning products and hand sanitiser are used throughout the school.

5. Physical distancing of children in schools is not required by the latest AHPPC guidelines. Research has shown limited transmission risk associated with school children in the school environment.

6. All adults, including teachers, support staff and parents, must maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from each other. This includes parents and carers who collect their children from the car park in the afternoons.

7. Students should continue to bring water bottles from home instead of using bubblers.

8. On-site school sporting activities must focus on the development of non-contact skills.

9. Friday afternoon assemblies will not take place in the hall, but will continue in an abbreviated format on the playground.

10. P&F meetings must continue to be conducted via Zoom.

11. Parent-teacher interviews will take place via Zoom on Monday 10th August, except for interviews involves serious matters that require face-to-face discussion, e.g. disciplinary or welfare-related.

12. The following activities are permitted:

  • Day field trips to outdoor locations with no physical distancing requirements are now permitted, e.g. trips to local river to collect water samples.
  • Guest speakers, e.g. school banking talks, sport promotions.

13. At this point in time, the following activities are not permitted:

  • School camps.
  • Excursions (other than field trips explained above).
  • Parents and grandparents helping with reading and other classroom-based activities.
  • School based activities that involve large gatherings of adults. These include social functions, fundraisers and large parent information evenings.

Canteen News

The canteen will be open on Fridays in Term 3 for lunch orders only. We have modified the menu to be prePackaged food only and there will be no counter sales at lunch or recess at this stage. To view the modified menu and to place orders you must use the QKR! App. Orders will only be accepted via the online platform.

Our volunteers are looking forward to getting back into the canteen.

Shermaine Fitzgerald


Following the departure of our school counsellor, Katrina Hamall, at the end of Term 1, the recruitment of a replacement for Katrina has been a long and arduous process. Regrettable, in the interim, we have had no counselling services available to our students and their families. Therefore, I am very pleased to announce that a new counsellor has been appointed to our school. Melanie Dawson is a registered psychologist with a great deal of experience working with children and their families in community and school-based roles. She was educated in Catholic schools and will be a great fit for St Patrick's. Melanie will attend St Patrick’s on Thursdays. When she commences her work here, I will ask Melanie to introduce herself to the school community and let us know about the services that she will be able to offer to our students and their families.

Thank you Mini Vinnies

The members of St Vincent de Paul Swansea Conference would like to thank Mrs Hyland and the St Patrick’s Mini Vinnies Team for organising the Winter Clothing Appeal last term and we thank all those families who were able to donate clothing to the Appeal.

The bags of clothing were collected by the St Vincent de Paul van during the holidays and after sorting at the Distribution Centre the clothes will be delivered to our ‘Vinnies” shops. Some of the clothing will be sold to raise money to enable the Society to assist people in need and some will be given to those who don’t have the money to purchase clothing.

Thank you to all at St Patrick’s School for the wonderful support given to the St Vincent de Paul Society. God Bless.


A reminder that the registration for your child’s participation in the ICAS assessments closes this Sunday, 26th July. The details of the ICAS assessments wee published in the final newsletter in Term 2.

If you would like your child to participate in any of the ICAS assessments, please visit the ICAS online Parent Payment System at https://shop.unswglobal.com.au/pages/pps to make a direct payment to UNSW Global. Our school’s unique access code is: VRR693.

IMPORTANT: Please enter your child’s name accurately into the system as it will appear on their ICAS certificate.

To allow your child to become familiar with the online ICAS tests, go to the ICAS Practice Interaction Test.

Please contact Bronwyn Sartori or Peter Green if you have any queries about the ICAS assessments.


The Lake Macquarie City Council Rangers have noticed an increase in the number of parents relying on their vehicles for school drop-off and pick-up. They have issued these reminders to all drivers:

  • No stopping zone: You cannot stop here unless there is a medical or other emergency.
  • Bus zone: You cannot stop here unless you are driving a bus.
  • No parking zone: You can stop here for two minutes only to drop-off or pick-up, and the driver must stay within three metres of their vehicle.
  • Pedestrian crossings: You cannot stop within 20 metres before or 10 metres after a pedestrian crossing unless there is a control sign permitting parking.
  • Double parking: You cannot stop on the road alongside other vehicles at any time to drop-off or pick-up.

The Lake Macquarie City Council Rangers will be increasing patrols around the local schools during Term 3 to monitor illegal parking and safety issues. The rangers will be issuing infringements to drivers who breach these rules.


The next meeting of the P&F will take place tomorrow evening, Wednesday 22nd July. The meeting will take place via Zoom, beginning at 6.30pm. It has been scheduled to run for 1½ hours. Meeting via Zoom will enable you to contribute your ideas without leaving home.

If you plan to attend this meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) evening:

  1. Make sure you have downloaded Zoom to your device.
  2. Use this link or copy it into your search bar: https://mncatholic.zoom.us/j/97460683839
  3. Click on ‘Open Zoom meetings’.
  4. Click on ‘Join with computer audio’.
  5. Click on ‘Start video’.
  6. If you are prompted to type a password, the password is 911805.

Looking forward to seeing you there.


This week we welcome to St Patrick’s Mrs Ellyse Gregory, who is a student teacher from Curtin University, Western Australia. Ellyse is in her final year of study and she will be working alongside Cathy Dent in Year 5/6 for the first five weeks of this term.


Please note the following dates, and disregard the error in the last newsletter of Term 2:

  1. The Semester 1 reports will be available through Compass on Monday 3rd August.
  2. Follow-up interviews will take place via Zoom on Monday 10th August. Bookings will be made available using the compass portal from next week.


During this term, our “You Can Do It” focus at St Patrick’s will be on developing our students’ organisational skills and resilience.


The students will be learning about how to become more organised. Examples of skills that will be taught might be to set a goal for what they will be learning, to work hard to reach that goal, and to evaluate their success at the end. Other examples might be to ensure they have all the materials required for a lesson/task, or to manage their time so that they finish a task on time. We will teach the students how to become organised by using the characters ‘Oscar Organisation’ (Kindergarten and Year 1) and ‘Olivia Organisation’ (Years 2 to 6).


The students will be learning how to develop their resilience. Examples of skills that will be taught might be to stay calm when you don’t understand something, or how not to get upset with yourself when you make a mistake in your work. The Years 3 to 6 students will learn how to change their thinking to become more resilient, such as “ It’s not the worst thing that could happen to me”; or “I don’t have to do things perfectly. It’s good to try something new even though I might not be able to do it”. We will teach the students how to become more resilient by using the characters ‘Ricky Resilience’ (Kindergarten and Year 1) and ‘Rosie Resilience’ (Years 2 to 6).


As a caring community we would like to continue to offer our support to the Santamaria family after the loss of their dearly loved father and husband. If you can help to maintain their lawns for the rest of the year, it would be greatly appreciated. Please click on the link below where you will be taken to a lawn mowing roster, where you can volunteer to help on a particular Saturday.



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St Patrick's Swansea


Created with images by CDC - (COVID-19)." • Alex Holyoake - "Red and blue open neon" • Andres Siimon - "Lawnmower"