St Joseph's Newsletter T4 Wk 7

1 December 2021

Principal’s Piece

Kia Ora Koutou

He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka

A choppy sea can be navigated

The school year is fast approaching its end. The second half of the year has been filled with disruption and cancellations due to Covid 19. It certainly has been a choppy sea to navigate. On Monday the Prime Minister announced how the country will transition into the traffic light system. The new COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) comes in this Friday, thankfully all the Ministers have agreed that all schools will retain their existing COVID-19 settings until the end of the 2021 calendar year. The COVID-19 Protection Framework settings, which will come into effect for all schools from 1 January 2022.

This means we will not alter any of our current plans for the end of year and it will be status quo for parents and visitors coming onto the school site. Please know that this is not how we wish to end the year as a school. But as we have all heard so often over the last two years, these are unprecedented and forever changing times that we have to navigate for the health, safety and well being of our children and our community alike.

Last weekend the Church started a new liturgical year with the beginning of Advent. Advent is a four week period to help us prepare for Christmas. It's nice to attend Mass during the season of Advent as a family to help get ready for Christmas.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been busy planning for the 2022 School year. The school structure is based on the number of students that we have in the different year levels. This can change from time to time given high or low numbers in the different cohorts. Please note the change to the current structure next year is in the middle team. For 2022 there will be two Year 4 classes and three Year 5 and 6 classes.

Kia manaaki te Atua koutou katoa

Grant Stuart


Gospel Reflection

First Sunday of Advent, Cycle C

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Gospel Reading

Luke 21:25-28,34-36

Jesus teaches his disciples to be vigilant so that they will be ready when the Son of Man comes in glory.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, which is also the first Sunday of the new liturgical year. The Advent season includes the four Sundays that precede Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord. In this season, we recall two central elements of our faith: the final coming of the Lord in glory and the incarnation of the Lord in the birth of Jesus. The key themes of the Advent season are watchful waiting, preparation, and justice.

In this new liturgical year, the Gospel of Luke will be the primary Gospel proclaimed (Lectionary Cycle C). Today's Gospel is taken from the last chapter before the passion narrative in which Jesus is teaching in the Temple. We hear Jesus speak to his disciples about the need for vigilance and prayer as they wait for the coming of the Son of Man in glory. This passage marks the conclusion of a lengthy dialogue in which Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, warns about the persecution and tribulations to follow, and identifies the signs that will signal the coming of the Son of Man in glory.

The community for whom Luke wrote his Gospel may have believed that they were already experiencing some of the events Jesus described. Most scholars believe that Luke's Gospel was written after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. At the time, many Christians interpreted this event as an indication that Jesus' second coming was near.

Though Jesus predicts a time of destruction and fear, Jesus indicates that others will be frightened; Jesus' disciples are not to fear, but are to stand tall. Yet Jesus does not promise deliverance from anxiety or tribulations. He encourages his disciples to pray for strength. The early Christian communities did not find consolation in the promise of a utopia, nor should we. Instead, we find in our Christian faith the means by which we witness to God's unfailing love for us in all circumstances.

Jesus' predictions about the end times may sound dire, but in the next paragraph Luke tells us that people woke early to listen to Jesus' teaching in the Temple area. In his person and in his message, those who heard Jesus found strength and consolation. Like the first Christians, we may encounter events and circumstances that could lead us to despair. Through prayer, however, we find strength and consolation in Jesus' words and in his continuing presence with us to endure all things and to witness to the action of God in our world.

Value Focus

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The Advent season is our special countdown to Christmas where we are invited to take time from what can be a frenzied period of functions, shopping and cooking to include spiritual preparation for the birth of Jesus to keep Christ at the centre of Christmas.

One way to keep Advent alive in our homes is with an Advent Wreath. A great family activity, something that can be created together and shared in each week as the candles, for Hope, Love, Joy and Peace are lit.

However we choose to observe this season let’s take time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

How to light your Advent Wreath:

In the first week, light one purple candle.

In the second week, light two purple candles.

In the third week, light two purple candles and the rose candle.

In the fourth week, light all four candles.

End of the school year 2021

Over the past weeks, with the Alert Levels and public health restrictions changing so often, I’m sure you will appreciate that we have repeatedly been through the process of making plans and then needing to change them. With the students back onsite, we are now able to finally settle on a plan for the end of our school year which will allow us to farewell our wonderful Year 8 leavers in the way they deserve, whilst also ensuring that we meet any public health requirements that are likely to be in place at the time.

We have decided that in these uncertain times, all our end of year events will take place with students and staff onsite only. We will make videos and photos available wherever possible, and we can’t wait until our whole community can safely be involved in school events again.

Our final week of school:

Monday 13 December:

  • Prizegiving. This will take place across the day with groups of students, not a whole school gathering.

Tuesday 14 December:

  • This will be the last school day for Year 0-7 students for 2021. School will finish at the normal time, 2.45pm.

  • Mufti day - please bring a food bank item or Christmas item for St Vincent de Paul.

  • A special liturgy involving Year 7&8 students only will be held.

Wednesday 15 December:

  • Year 8 students only. On this day, our whole staff will focus on farewelling our amazing Year 8’s. More information will be made available for Year 8’s soon. This event will be for Year 8 students only, they will arrive at 9.30am and finish their time at St Joseph’s Fairfield at 12.00.

End of year Digital Reports

Since the 18th of August, students have spent nearly 8 weeks of school time learning at home. We appreciate everything that families did to look after their children’s wellbeing and keep them learning over this time. Usually at the end of the year, families are given information about curriculum sublevel progress in core subjects. This is not possible this year, as we have not had students onsite to do the required assessments in order for teachers to make accurate judgements. Our focus in the time remaining this year is to keep teaching, not testing, and making sure that our students' wellbeing is at the forefront.

On Friday 10 December, at the end of Week 8, there will be a General Comment from the class teacher posted on Hero to summarise your child’s learning and achievements for 2021.

Meet Nicole Jones!

Kia Ora Koutou

My name is Nicole Jones and I am very excited to be joining the team at St Joseph’s School next year. I have lived in Hamilton for the last 15 years, working at Horsham Downs School. I have over 25 years teaching experience, having also taught in all year levels in Auckland and London. I have two boys who will be in Year 9 and Year 13 at St Paul’s Collegiate next year.

The last few years has seen me predominately teaching in the junior school. I value the establishment of positive learning relationships so children can build a solid foundation of literacy and numeracy skills in a nurturing environment.

I look forward to getting to know you and your children in 2022.

Before and After School Care 2022

Next year the school will take over the after school care. We are looking at running a before school care option. In order for us to plan effectively we need some information from you. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

After School Survey

School Uniform

Our current school uniform contract ends in June next year. We are currently asking a number of providers to submit their proposals. Early in 2022 we will ask for some voice from both parents and students so that we can make the right choice moving forward.

At the end of the year we are looking to collect in any surplus uniform, these can be handed into the school office. We anticipating holding a second hand uniform sale towards the end of January, watch out for more information via the school Facabook page!

2022 Term Dates

Term dates for 2022 are:

Term 1: Wednesday 2nd February - Thursday 15th April

Term 2: Monday 2nd May - Friday 8th July

Term 3: Monday 25th July - Friday 30th September

Term 4: Monday 17th October - Friday 16th December

The Teacher Only Days are:

Term 1: Monday 7 March

Term 2: Friday 3 June

Term 2: Monday 29 August

Term 4: Friday 11 November

When in doubt, keep them out!

There have been a number of students away with illnesses the last two days. Thank you for keeping your child(ren) home when they are showing signs of potential infectious disease. It has been beneficial in stopping the spread to other students or staff members. Remember- "Just a headache" or "just a tummy ache" could turn into germs being spread during an initial contagious period.

*Please note that New Zealand is under advisory for RSV (Respiratory Syncitial Virus). If your child is demonstrating symptoms we advise following Ministry of Health guidelines for diagnosis and treatment and please keep them at home in the meantime.*

Here is a handy chart from the Health Ed with helpful information on infectious disease:

StepsWeb - Free Licenses extended until 20 December

We are enormously grateful to the Canterbury-based company, StepsWeb, for the free licences they provided NZ school to support learning at home during Alert Level 4. They have generously extended these licences for the remainder of the school year, so you can continue to use this valuable resource at home. Your child’s log in details remain the same as during lockdown.

Access to Free Period Products

St Joseph’s Fairfield has opted into the 2021 government initiative to provide period products for students. Parents of Year 5-8 girls have been emailed this information and it is available on our website.


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Community Notices

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2021 Term Dates

Term dates for 2021 are:

Term 1: Tuesday 2nd February - Friday 16th April

Term 2: Monday 3rd May - Friday 9th July

Term 3: Monday 26th July - Friday 1st October

Term 4: Monday 18th October - Wednesday 15th December

The Teacher Only Days are:

Term 2: Tuesday 8 June (Week 5)

Term 4: Tuesday 26 October (Week 2)