From the Principal

As Term 2 unfolds at an alarming rate our minds turn very quickly to the examination period starting in the week beginning Monday 30 May. The exams and other end of semester assessments must be a focus for students at all levels. Preparation, intrinsic motivation, organisation and collaboration are equally crucial in the build-up to ensure each student’s achievement is at a level commensurate with their potential and ability. Now is the time to exercise maturity and independence as a student; with only three weeks to go it is too late if they leave it much longer.

Along these lines and supported by Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching Mark Gustincic, I have been interviewing all Year 12 teachers from 2015. This is our third year of these meetings and the discussions focus on close analysis of last year’s results, across both SACs and the end of year examinations. There exists a rich vein of data available from VCAA’s VCE Data Service, from a breakdown and comparison of each class’ performance in each examination question, to patterns emerging over a five year period. The conclusions drawn from this data analysis are then used to inform classroom and assessment practice with the unambiguous goal of improvement.

From an analysis of students’ strengths and areas requiring improvement, staff have reported a range of strategies, consistent across all subject areas, identified as essential to building skills and leading to improvement. We have established a clear blueprint for both staff and students to work from. In following and attending to these critical areas and the advice therein students at all levels can build skills, confidence and performance.

Teachers have been utilising a range of new strategies, but a summary of the most important, relevant at all levels, is as follows:

Literacy skills! Across all domains – literacy is definitely NOT just of concern in English – the capacity to unpack, decipher, interpret and respond to exactly what a task or question is demanding is a critical skill.

Working in teams – students who show an ability to work together to analyse, question, pose a solution, form an opinion and justify this with evidence are proving to develop greater confidence and skills.

Past examination papers and typical/common questions’ styles can be utilised to great effect. Explicit and targeted use of past papers and familiarity with exemplar exam answers in all areas in the paper/assessment is a tried and true approach to effective revision. For VCE, the Examiner’s Report is also a critical tool.

Students must set themselves high standards and be aware of and accountable to the high expectations we have for all our young men! Acceptance of mediocrity is never good enough. Regardless of our God-given ability in a certain area, we can all strive to achieve our personal best. Students must be accountable for their homework and weekly tasks’ completion/submission.

Outcomes and SACs in the VCE years are designed to mirror examination tasks in complexity and style/nature/structure. Familiarity with these and solid preparation will build confidence and ensure the development of required skills is also attended to over the course of the year.

Student Sports Achievements

This has been an exciting fortnight in relation to De La Salle students’ achievement in the community. Congratulations to:

  • Ben Fierenzi (Year 10), who has been selected in the final 40 players for the Australian U/15 Baseball Team
  • Sean MacDonald (Year 10), who has been selected in the Australian Basketball Team for the U17 Men’s 2016 FIBA World Championships.
  • Elias Fernandez (Year 9) who represented Victoria at the recent U15 State Boys’ National Hockey Championships in Wollongong and won selection in the Victorian 1st XVI.

Read more about their achievements here.

Time to Shine Concert

Last Saturday Catholic Education Melbourne held its second Time to Shine concert, a performing arts extravaganza showcasing the talents of a great many students from over 60 Catholic secondary schools across the Archdiocese. Held at Melbourne’s iconic Regent Theatre in Collins Street, the concert brought together singers, dancers and musicians, providing the perfect opportunity for students to showcase their extraordinary talents in a two-hour gala, honouring the outstanding gifts and talents existing in our Catholic schools.

We were very proud when our very own Henry Prendergast-Kruger (Year 11) was successful in his auditions and selected to be one of the performers in the show. Henry sang a Southern Sons number Hold Me in Your Arms and did a superb job, drawing wonderful applause and receiving some terrific feedback. Henry is well known to many in our community via his extensive contributions to the performing arts here at De La over the years, most visibly via his leading roles in the Footloose, Grease and Hairspray. Henry is a magnificent ambassador for all that is great about performing arts and its growth and development at the College and we not only congratulate Henry but encourage all our aspiring artists to emulate his success.

Year 9 City Experience

This week has seen the very exciting and very successful launch of the Year 9 City Experience. Coordinator of the program Mr Heath Tregear has done an outstanding job to bring the program from the seeds of an idea to fruition, ably supported by the Year 9 staff in pioneering what is an innovative and challenging week of research, analysis and activities. The capacity of the program to build essential contemporary skills and resilience in the Year 9 students is already being borne out in a wonderful example of our stated goal of innovation and improvement in our curriculum design and implementation. Please click here for Mr Tregear’s full report.

Mother’s Day Breakfast

Last Wednesday 27 April the hard-working Parent Network hosted our third Mother’s Day Breakfast. Since its inception in 2014, where we were thrilled with a crowd of 330, the event has grown to the point where we can just squeeze into the gym, with the 500 guests all keen to enjoy the experience. This is a great community event, a true representation of our stated goal of creating and building that community feel in the school for which De La Salle has always been so well known. It’s a great chance for mums and sons to take the time to gather together for brekky, to meet and chat with other families from their year level and to enjoy the occasion. Mrs Kaila Hutchinson, new to the De La Salle staff this year, was our guest speaker. Kaila did a wonderful job, enthralling the full audience with her journey from Little Athletics in Leongatha, to the national team representing Australia in World Championships, two Commonwealth Games and culminating in her semi-finalist appearance in the 1500 metres at the 2012 London Olympics. Beside the story of her journey as a professional athlete Kaila delivered some terrific messages about the essential support of our mothers, the importance of resilience, dealing with tough times, setbacks and other obstacles to achieve what you really strive for.

Thank you to all those mums and sons who supported the event; it really was a wonderful community morning. The Parent Network helpers (in excess of 20 of them!) were ably led by the superb administrative and organisational skills of Mrs Julie Car who coordinated the whole process. Thank you Julie, we are all very grateful for your energy and enthusiasm. The function was also greatly assisted by the generosity of Cooper and Milla’s Toorak (Ferentinos family) who organised the Noisette pastries and made and delivered all the mini quiches, fruit platters and scones. Thank you also to Betty McDowell Lingerie of Brighton, Dobsons Clothing and Endota Spa Camberwell, who all provided gift vouchers for the table raffles and door prizes.

Mr Peter Houlihan

Back to The Duce Issue 2016 06 - 5 May 2016