From the Principal

This has, like all those before it, been a very busy term and I would like to thank all staff and students for their resilience throughout the sometimes bleak winter months.

We have emerged largely unscathed — spring is here, holidays beckon and there is an opportunity for rest and renewal for all.

A Big Week for The Arts

Lasallian Public Speaking Competition

As the saying goes, this has been a big week for The Arts at De La Salle. On Monday we had the Br Quentin O’Halloran Lasallian Public Speaking Competition. Excellent presentations from Year 7 – 12 speakers from De La, St. James and St. Bede’s entertained a healthy crowd of family, staff and supporters. Details of the evening appear later in Newsprint but I would like to thank Ms Kate McIlroy and Ms Rose Roe for their organisation of this significant event on our calendar.

2014 Visual Arts Exhibition

Tuesday evening saw the official opening of the 2014 Visual Arts Exhibition. Again, there are details of the event further into this publication but I must acknowledge Visual Arts Coordinator Mr David Happ and his team from Art, Visual Communication & Design, Media and Studio Arts. There appeared in the exhibition a superb array of students’ work from all year levels and in a range of mediums across the various arts. A very supportive crowd enjoyed the opportunity to view our boys’ talents, showcased in so many different ways. It is always encouraging and gratifying to see De La Salle’s young men demonstrating such creativity and displaying their skills.

ACCent on Music

On Wednesday evening I was privileged to attend the Associated Catholic Colleges Music event, ACCent on Music. This was simply outstanding in its splendour and the extraordinary talent on display. We had 57 students from Years 6 — 12 joining 300 plus students from the other ACC schools in a three-hour extravaganza. De La’s individual item was an amazing performance of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know by our eight-strong guitar ensemble, conducted by Matt Lewin. Various De La Salle students populated the ACC combined items that included: Junior Concert Band, Senior Concert Band, Choir and Orchestra. It was an amazing experience for our young musicians to be able to sit in full ensembles with multiple players on each part.

Rehearsals began at the start of the year in ACC music workshops and the chance to perform in Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre was just reward for the many hours of rehearsals. Renowned international musician James Morrison was the MC for the night and did a superb job in encouraging the students and playing alongside them – what a thrill for our budding musos! Our very own Director of Music Cindy Frost was instrumental (excuse the pun) in the production of the concert. Cindy worked as school liaison officer for the ACC, planning throughout the year, and was stage manager on the night. Thank you also to Andrew Verco and Kelly Williams for their invaluable contributions.

Digital Learning Implementation

Starting in the second half of 2013, the College has been committed to the creation and implementation of a plan which addresses our capacity to deliver a substantial learning and teaching program employing contemporary digital technologies.

There can be little dispute about the dramatic and pervasive — but in many ways exciting — influence of technology on contemporary society. In turn, this creates extraordinary potential for supporting students’ learning via targeted use of technology. Increasingly, students without a deep grounding in technology will find themselves at a disadvantage, especially competing in a shrinking job market.

At the beginning of this year a strategic plan for the improvement of ICT provision was adopted, following extensive consultation with students, parents and staff in 2013. As part of the implementation plan, the method to deploy College-owned and managed devices to staff and students has been resolved. The arrangements are as follows:

  • A College-owned mobile device will be issued to each teaching staff member in December 2014, together with an intensive end of year professional learning program that will continue throughout 2015.
  • There will be a progressive improvement of services throughout next year, including internet access, security and wireless network access.
  • College-owned mobile devices, based on the Windows 8 operating system, will be issued to students over the next three years. Funding for the devices will be through a fee levy. The actual amount per annum will be determined once we have selected the most appropriate device for student use, early in 2015.
  • The roll out schedule is shown in the following table, with the blue coloured cells indicating the beginning of a three year cycle:

In association with the roll out to Year 9 students at the beginning of Semester 2 2015, teaching staff will develop a digital curriculum that exploits the opportunities that the new devices offer.

The current Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) arrangement will continue to apply for students not issued with a College-owned device. The recommended BYOD device is the Apple iPad.

For students issued with College-owned devices, there will be an expectation that the device is used strictly for educational purposes. The device will come with all required software apart from book-listed material and will be fully insured. At the end of the three-year cycle (3.5 years for Year 9 in 2015), there will be opportunity for buy-out at a minimal cost.

The changes sketched out represent a major shift in the handling of this area of the College. With the unfolding of the plan, reliable access to emerging technologies will open possibilities for creating interesting, relevant and engaging learning experiences in a most exciting way for students and staff.

VCE Exam Preparation

This is a critical period for all Year 12 students as Unit 4 winds up: intense revision and exam preparation must be the order of the day. There is simply no substitute for hard, organised disciplined work at this time of year. Past papers’ questions, structured revision, seeking and acting on feedback from teachers, a non-negotiable study timetable and self discipline can make an enormous difference. A strong performance in the trial exams in the second week of the holidays will stand students in good stead for the real thing next month, and with most exams making up 50% of the assessment it is imperative we are as well prepared as possible.

Overseas Programs

A team of Year 11 students on our annual visit to Papua New Guinea is completing their first week of work at Bomana De La Salle High School outside Port Moresby. I have had a couple of texts from the crew and can report Messrs Hogan, Walker and Wilson have the renovations in hand and all are safe and well with the students enjoying – by and large – the experience as builders’ labourers. More importantly, they have the opportunity to see what a difference their fundraising and unselfish commitment of time can make in this underprivileged part of the De La Salle world.

Similarly, 16 Year 9 & 10 students, accompanied by Mr Happ, Mr Wozencroft and Ms Hawley, travel to the Philippines during the holidays for their immersion in Manila and surrounds at La Salle Green Hills school. Staying with local families, the students will enjoy a truly multicultural immersion, witness firsthand the challenges a city like Manila faces, and in some small ways make a contribution to improving the lives of the poor in the areas they visit. In 2015 these boys will in turn host a visit from Green Hills students, sharing the mission with our Lasallian neighbours and colleagues.

DSL Basketball Club

I would just like add a note in support the DLS Basketball Club, which has been operating independently from the College for almost 20 years.

The club is designed to introduce boys to the game and create a shared experience with others who may have played before, in order to gain new sporting skills and help build social networks at school. The club is administered by parents, and as students complete their time at De La Salle new parents with boys playing in the club, particularly in Years 7–10, are urgently needed to assist with the administration of the club over the next few seasons. Team registration will be migrated to an online system, as will payments to the club, however the club does need general system admin support and uniform coordination. The summer season starts on Friday 10 October so it is important to get the teams registered in the next few weeks so that all is ready for the commencement. It concludes March 2015 — no play during holidays.

If you are willing to assist please contact Rod Lack on 9826 6653. More information about the club can be found at the DSL Basketball Club website.

Staff News

Congratulations to our Year 8 Coordinator Shane Mackintosh, his wife Melanie and son Noah, on the new addition to their family, Claire Gemma, born 29 August.

Mr Chris Church (Maths, R.E. & Year 7 Homeroom teacher) and fiancée Erin are to be married this Saturday 20 September. We wish the happy couple all the best.

As ever, the end of term sees some staff departing. Ms Nadia Tati and Ms Lydia Triafylos have both been highly competent and professional replacements for staff on long service leave and both have made tremendous impressions and contributions in their time here. We will certainly welcome both Nadia and Lydia back should vacancies arise.

Mr Greg Sully, one of our valued instrumental music teachers, has been on leave this term and has advised he will not be returning to De La Salle. Greg made a great contribution to our music program and we wish him well in his future endeavours.

Closing thoughts

I would like to relate briefly an incident passed on to me a fortnight ago, which coincided nicely with the message from the Gospel from Sunday 7th. I often speak of the quality of our young men and once again I received a positive email from the public relaying how two of our boys in uniform went to the assistance of a frail and elderly gentleman obviously struggling to get on a tram in High St. Matthew’s Gospel quoted “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Our two anonymous good Samaritans obviously deserve a few credits for their good deed.

The ACC hockey, basketball, table tennis and cross country seasons have concluded with a variety of teams doing very well and several premierships being won. Further details appear in Sport News but I would like to thank all players, coaches and assistants for the many hours of training, preparations and matches given to the College sport program this term.

Mr Peter Houlihan,

Back to The Duce Issue 2014 10 - 19 September 2014