From the Principal
I hope all our De La Salle families have enjoyed the two week break and taken the opportunity to relax, recharge and spend some time together, which is not always possible in the frenetic pace in which the school term usually embroils us.
I am writing this article having just completed the first of three annual sections of a course for De La Salle leaders and educators at the Buttimer Institute for Lasallian Studies. This was indeed an inspiring, motivating and rewarding time; immersed with 100 other Lasallians from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, USA, Canada, Jamaica, Eritrea, Myanmar, The Congo and Ethiopia.
The Buttimer Institute is an intensive Lasallian formation and education program that studies the life and work of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the origins of the Lasallian educational mission. Through an examination of the writings of De La Salle and an analysis of a range of contemporary educators, we were all able to develop a deeper understanding of the Lasallian heritage and its influence on modern education in our own schools.
The course provided a rich variety of ideas, resources and networking opportunities. I will be referring to the Buttimer experience regularly in the future but in brief I’ll mention a few of the key messages and themes. Some were new and some were reminders of our tradition, but adding the imperative of ensuring this tradition and all elements of our Lasallian ethos are applied and implemented in our contemporary settings. I think this is particularly relevant here at Malvern as we no longer have any Brothers. The following concepts were reinforced in our studies of Saint La Salle’s writings and the group’s application of them to 2015 priorities. I found some valid parallels when comparing the ideas to our ongoing commitment to improvement in all areas of the College here in Malvern:
- The need of the students is always a determining factor in a Lasallian school.
- The ability to identify a need and develop the courage and creativity to respond to it is truly Lasallian.
- Working and studying in a Lasallian school is an opportunity for not only learning, but service.
- Faith and belief in a supporting God is a good guide to getting the job done!
- Recognition of a Lasallian teacher being a companion and guide to students and colleagues – an obligation to love, to serve and to be present.
A good deal of the time was devoted to an in-depth analysis of Br Luke Salm’s detailed biography of St John Baptist de La Salle. In recent years religious institutions around the world have been urged by the Church to undergo a program of renewal based on their Founder’s charism. As such, Br Salm writes of the Brothers’ increasing interest at all levels in recapturing de La Salle’s vision and using his own writings to define his characteristic spirituality. Many of de La Salle’s principle ideas from his day are equally relevant in our school in the 21st century.
Formation of staff and students in the Lasallian traditions remains a high priority, as does the clear and unambiguous dedication to our Mission – providing a human and Christian education to all.
College Master Plan
Following the release of our 2015–18 Strategic Plan earlier this year our attention now moves to the process of developing a Master Plan. I have been in discussion with the Executive team, College Board, Catholic Education Office and a variety of architects, project managers and other principals to assist in establishing the most appropriate way forward, obviously designed to suit the specific needs of our College. This is a lengthy and complex task involving developing a Business Plan and Marketing Plan; setting targets around enrolment numbers; making decisions around preferred learning environments and priorities re: specialist spaces, pastoral care structures etc.; and myriad other imperatives. I am determined we as a College community exercise all due diligence in getting this process right as we navigate a very exciting period of renewal, growth and eventually building.
Information Night and VCE/VET/VCAL Expo
On Wednesday evening this week we held Information Nights and the VCE/VET/VCAL Expo for both Years 9 and 10 in relation to 2016 course advice and subject selection. It was gratifying to see so many students and parents attending, obviously with the intention of accessing as much information as possible and – as was the main message on the night – being thoroughly prepared to make the most appropriate choices. It is critical that students in particular do their research over the next few weeks to prepare for the Year 9 & 10 Course Advice Interviews next month. Attention to detail, knowledge and understanding of 2018 tertiary prerequisites (for 2016–17 VCE selections), setting ambitious but realistic goals and combining passion with ability is always good advice when planning courses.
This is a critical time in the planning stages of our students’ educational progression and an opportunistic time for the learning partnership between students, staff and parents to come to the fore. Thank you in particular to Directors of Learning & Development Ms Rose Roe and Ms Lucy Russell and Deputy Principal — Learning and Teaching Mr Mark Gustincic for the organisation of the information sessions.
Semester 1 Awards Assemblies
One of the most significant events on our calendar each semester is the Academic Awards Assemblies. These were held on Wednesday this week, with the Kinnoull assembly at 9:00am followed by the Tiverton assembly at 11:00am. It was terrific to see so many parents and guests in attendance to support the students who were awarded prizes for Academic Achievement and/or Academic Effort. I like to take the opportunity at these events to encourage the students via my Principal’s Address to dedicate themselves to their studies and ensure they reach their potential. In a couple of extracts from my presentation you may see the clear message to our young men and the manner in which we urge them to ensure they achieve all they are capable of.
“As De La Salle students I expect you take up the challenge, do everything you can to improve your learning and get the very best out of the opportunities presented to you at our great school.”
“De La Salle’s teachers care a great deal about you as young men and strive to provide opportunities to explore and expand your interests within the framework of the various subjects. It is critical we aim to challenge, encourage and enable you to demonstrate skills in learning and assessment in ways you are comfortable with, but will also demand you learn to think for yourself and develop independence as learners.
As a student, you will learn from taking risks and sometimes you’ll flounder or even fail, but it’s a lot better than not having a go at all and being content with mediocrity; something we can never accept at De La Salle.
With your teachers you must set high standards and work to maintain them, regardless of your perceived ability or past record. Your personal best will always be good enough, as long as you can look me in the eye and guarantee me you have lived up to your potential you will get no criticism at the end of the term or semester.”
I’d like to draw your attention to several College community evets and activities we have coming up in the next few weeks and encourage your involvement and participation.
DLS Old Collegians Football Club 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner
The DLS Old Collegians Football Club 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner is scheduled for Saturday 15 August 2015 at Zinc, Federation Square. Potentially the biggest night for the De La Old Colls this decade, seats are selling quickly. All enquiries through Mick Hegan or Stephen Hoy at the football club or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent Network Race Day – Book Now
The Parent Network’s De La Salle College Race Day at P.B. Lawrence Stakes Day Caulfield is also on Saturday 15 August. Last year’s event was a fantastic day out and we look forward to taking over the track again this year with even more numbers than 2014. You will find all details of the event in this week’s Duce and I’d certainly encourage you to book and come along. We have exclusive access to a private stand with track views and complimentary parking. You’ll be privy to insider tips from a guest tipster and will receive a free race book to help you pick a winner (or two). A selection of gourmet finger food will be provided throughout the day, plus a fashion parade, guest speaker, auctions, prizes and more. It was a terrific community event last year; a great way to spend the day with De La friends and meet other parents, so either email@example.com go to http://www.trybooking.com/ICJD
Father’s Day Breakfast
We also have our 2015 Father’s Day Breakfast coming up on Wednesday 26 August at 7:15am in the College Gymnasium with hearty breakfast, great company and guest speaker Darren Crocker, North Melbourne Assistant Coach. Last year sold out very quickly and this year’s Mother’s Day Breakfast sold out its 410 seat capacity in a few days, so I’d suggest you reserve the date and keep an eye out for details from the Parent Network.
Year 7 Mother and Son Time and Space
On Wednesday 5 August we have our 2015 Year 7 Mother & Son Time and Space Evening at 7:00pm in the Gymnasium. Time & Space programs are designed to strengthen and grow relationships, especially during times of change and transition. In a busy world, Time & Space provides time to stop, learn and discover what really matters in life. This is a tremendous opportunity for Year 7 boys and their mums to come together, take a little time and continue to build communication and that critical mother-son relationship as adolescence advances. More information is at http://www.time-space.com.au/ or in the Junior School News section of this Duce. Our Personal Development Coordinator Ms Jo Dickson is currently organising invitations and as this is always a popular event in schools I’d encourage you to be a part of it in 2015.
Mr Peter Houlihan