Catholic community fostering growth

May 18, 2018

Lucy Keath, Principal.

From left to right: Andre Corso, Benjamin Padman, Ava Mathers, Emily Pullar and Gabrielle Wilkins.

■What are some characteristics or qualities about your school?

St Joseph’s is a Catholic community that fosters a child safe and positive environment where our learners flourish emotionally, academically, socially and spiritually.

We have an extremely dedicated staff who work with learners to achieve their highest potential.

We offer a wide range of specialists in physical education, digital technologies, Italian and library. At St Joseph’s we implement a positive behaviour intervention and support (PBIS) framework.

This framework provides our students with the opportunity to be involved in learning the social and emotional behaviours of themselves and others and how these behaviours impact relationships and learning.

Our learners are encouraged intrinsically and with rewards at a personal, class, learning community and school level. Our priority is to ensure that our students are prepared for the future with skills that ensure they are independent and likeable.

St Joseph’s also has a school dog. Banjo works in the classrooms around social and emotional learning. Having Banjo as part of our learning and teaching team adds a depth of learning like no other. Banjo has had an extremely positive influence on all members of our school community.

The grade 3/4 learning community is involved weekly with a community garden. The students use the produce to cook and enjoy fresh, healthy meals and learn many new recipes.

In 2018 we will be offering a new and improved transition program for our 2019 foundation students. This will run throughout term four, and on a weekly basis.

■Why should parents consider your school as an option to send their children?

We are a Catholic school where teachings of Jesus are taught, modelled, lived and valued.

Our school values, expectations, partnerships with families and positive behaviour support systems are all crucial at St Joseph’s.

Student leadership and student voice are a crucial element in the growth of all our students and their progress. We believe this gives direction to the future of St. Joseph’s.

St Joseph’s Primary School is perfectly situated in the middle of Cobram, with spacious grounds – beautiful grounds that cater to various activities spanning all age groups; with playgrounds, trees and sporting equipment.

Teachers at St Joseph’s practice current educational trends and use research to improve themselves as teachers and leaders. At St Joseph’s we believe that the child’s best interest is best kept at the centre of all decisions.

■What does your school offer in terms of extra-curricular activities, camps and trips?

We offer lunchtime activities which cater to students who like to play indoors, outdoors, sport and imaginary play.

We continue to offer all our learners/students the opportunity to compete in sporting events within and beyond the school and often have children going to zone, regional or state finals.

At St. Joseph’s the children have the opportunity to enjoy various camps and excursions locally and within Victoria, including the experience urban, country and adventure camps provide.

We offer a swimming program for two weeks; in addition to their weekly physical education lessons.

Our faith journey provides opportunities for the children to be involved in activities within our community; raising an awareness of people in need and to embrace a responsible attitude towards sustainability not only in our school but within the world.

Our Grade 3/4 area participate in the sports stadium activities with the Cobram and District Specialist School; enabling our students to establish positive relationships and camaraderie with students from other schools.

■What are your school’s key milestones and achievements over the past year?

In 2017 and 2018 we have worked together as a community; raising money at our annual fetes; to fund a new cubby which was designed by one of our students and which we will begin before the end of the year. Our vegetable gardens have been placed in areas where the learners can be involved with the gardens.

The introduction of weekly digital technology, Italian, library and physical education lessons has been met with enthusiasm.

Continual work around the wellbeing of children with the employment of a wellbeing officer four days a week has proven to be invaluable.

In all our learning communities, we have a plus one teacher model. This is where we have another teacher moving into the learning spaces daily in the areas of reading and writing.

This gives our educators the opportunity to look consistently at data to inform the teaching that occurs in smaller groups of learners.

In 2017 we began to run a community playgroup on a Thursday morning; inviting children and their families to join us weekly from 9am-11am.

The annual school fete is always an outstanding fundraiser and event for our families and the Cobram community. We are always astounded at the effort that is put in by our families and the donations received from the community.

At St. Joseph’s we have FIRE carriers beginning their journey as ‘Friends Igniting Reconciliation Education’ through learning more about our local Indigenous culture and sharing this with the wider school community.

■How does your school or facility support students in arts subjects including dance, drama, music, visual arts and media arts?

Our learners have the opportunity to be involved in performing arts and visual arts within our curriculum.

We have student leaders who are involved in the arts.

They are currently running a choir and looking at the importance of the arts for the learners.

At a diocesan level our learners are involved in Arts on Show and Festival of the Sacred which has a large emphasis on performance and visual arts.

At St. Joseph’s each year we run St. Joseph’s Got Talent; giving children the opportunity to share their skills in singing and dance. This competition provides a fun and exciting forum for our learners.

Biannually we have a school production that usually runs alongside our arts curriculum in our senior learning community.

We offer incursions with drumming, opera and artists to let our learners/students build on their artistic abilities.

The students have the opportunity to enter their ‘masterpieces’ in our local Cobram Agricultural Show each year; giving them a platform to have their exhibits displayed and enjoyed by the wider community.

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