From the Principal
The past couple of weeks has been dominated by applications, interviews, appointments and follow-up for a raft of student wellbeing positions which have come about largely as a result of the review and restructure of the pastoral care system and organisation here at the College.
Perhaps above all else we focus on improving in the life of the College, our students’ wellbeing is of paramount importance. Positive relationships, Lasallian identity, trust between student and teacher and a sense of belonging have long been hallmarks of a student’s experience at De La Salle. Our review, restructure and strategic planning for 2015 and beyond are designed to enhance opportunities for students to be more engaged, self-managing and responsible members of the College community. As seen in our Strategic Plan 2015 – 18 the broad goals are to improve student wellbeing focusing on the development of the whole person, including intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical growth by:
- building on the strong, positive relationships between students and staff;
- nurturing connectedness and mutual respect between staff, students and the wider community; and
- developing resilience, self-esteem and confidence as young men in the tradition of St John Baptist de La Salle.
Designing and staffing a leadership structure for the students’ wellbeing and our desired improvement has been a critical factor in the developments in this area. From 2016 we have a newly created position, Deputy Principal — Students. This is the first time De La Salle has had a dedicated, specific role focused solely on all aspects of students’ wellbeing. The primary task of the Deputy Principal – Students, is leading the response to the wellbeing and pastoral care needs of all students of the College. This includes student welfare management and developing programs to support this, leading the implementation of the House system, promoting opportunities for student leadership and student voice, transition, monitoring student progress and ensuring a positive tone and high expectations are the norm. Aligning these critical aspects of student life with the Lasallian ethos will be central to the role.
I am pleased to announce Ms Lisa Harkin has accepted the offer to take up the position of Deputy Principal — Students from January 2016. Ms Harkin is currently Director of Student Wellbeing at McKillop Catholic College in Werribee and has a wealth of experience in pastoral care in Catholic schools, supported by a Masters Degree in Student Wellbeing and a Masters of Business Administration.
Also coming out of the Pastoral Review and supporting the Deputy Principal — Students will be two significant new roles, Director of Students Years 4 – 9 and Director of Students Years 10 – 12.
Mr Luke Kenealy will be Director of Students Years 4 – 9 and Mr John McAlroy has accepted the role as Director of Students Year 10 – 12. I believe this new structure and the talented people we have put in place will make a strong contribution to our goal of enhancing student wellbeing at De La Salle.
Another new role created for 2016 is the Deputy Principal — Faith & Mission. This role assumes overall responsibility for being the faith animator for the College community under the Education in Faith sphere. This includes overseeing the Religious Education curriculum, student and staff formation in the Lasallian ethos, Masses and Liturgies, social justice programs, Lasallian/Community Service and leading the Ministry Team in building all aspects of our Catholic identity.
We are fortunate to have Ms Rana Brogan accept this position, effective January 2016. Ms Brogan comes to us from Marcellin College where she has worked as Director of Faith and Mission and Religious Education Coordinator. With a Masters Degree in Religious Education and 15 years of leadership positions in the faith domain in Catholic schools Ms Brogan is a valuable addition to the De La Salle staff.
The introduction of the House system and vertical Homerooms at Years 10 – 12 is a key component in our strategy. The Pastoral Review and an analysis of data from our School Improvement surveys have informed the restructure and the new system. In the School Improvement surveys, under “Student Experience” the College has rated quite highly in areas such as student morale, connectedness to school and connectedness to peers as well as indicating low levels of student distress. However, there is still room for improvement and an opportunity exists to build on what is certainly a positive environment for the students.
The Student Wellbeing Strategy 2011–15 from Catholic Education Melbourne refers to the capacity to improve student outcomes by maintaining a focus on knowing each student well, having high expectations for student learning and a personalised learning pathway for each student. As a Catholic Lasallian school we take responsibility for the quality of student outcomes and the development of the ‘whole person’ along the lines of the Founder’s emphasis on a “human and Christian education.” The connectedness and cohesion created in the vertical pastoral care structure enables the significant teacher in each young man’s school life to diagnose and monitor his progress and design learning opportunities to promote development. A new student management system for 2016 provides us with the ability to effectively gather evidence about student outcomes so that we can evaluate their performance, discuss its implications and plan more effectively.
Leading the development and implementation of the House system will be the four House Coordinators recently appointed to govern the Year 10–12 pastoral groups at Kinnoull, supported by the Year Level Coordinators in Years 7 – 9. The Year 7 – 9 structure remains in the traditional horizontal system subject to prospective future renovations and building to hopefully set up appropriate House areas/classrooms at Tiverton.
Congratulations to the successful applicants, who I am delighted to report have accepted my offer to take up the following roles in 2016.
House Coordinator: Edwin’s House Mr Michael Petrie
House Coordinator: Mark’s House Mr Paul Harrup
House Coordinator: Austin’s House Mr Shane Mackintosh
House Coordinator: Leo’s House Mr Rob Bonnici
Year 7 Coordinator Mr Chris Martin
Year 8 Coordinator Mr David Happ
Year 9 Coordinator Mr Andrew Wozencroft
Our Term 3 Community Mass will be held at 9:00am next Sunday 13 September at St Roch’s, Burke Road Glen Iris. Students who have come to us from St Roch’s have been invited to attend and participate in the Mass and we especially welcome St Roch’s families and parishioners who are Old Collegians. This is an excellent opportunity to gather as a community and I look forward to seeing as many of our De La Salle family there as possible.
Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb to visit
Professor Chubb recently published an article on the value of science education for the 21st century. He articulates in convincing fashion the necessity of a sound understanding of science in finding solutions to issues relating to the economy, environment, food production and health.
Virtually all businesses will need to utilise technology and analyse complex data, to find and employ evidence to anticipate the changes of the future
He will be doing a very special, private presentation for all our current Year 11 and 12 Science students.The opportunity to have such a prestigious scientist come visit our students and talk to them about the value of science and its future for them is a genuine coup.
Professor Chubb was appointed to the position of Chief Scientist in 2011. His complete biography can be read at: http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/about/biography‑2/ but some of his achievements include being:
- Vice-Chancellor at Australian National, Flinders, Wollongong and Monash Universities
- Deputy Chair of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training
- Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in the School of Medicine of Flinders University
- a Wellcome Foundation Scholar an Oxford University and a Research Fellow of St John’s College, the Royal Society and the University of Ghent, Belgium
- an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) and a Companion (AC) in the order
- the ACT’s Australian of the Year in 2011
Professor Chubb’s own research focused on the neurosciences and was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Grants Scheme and by various Foundations. He has also been awarded five honorary doctorates!
Such a prestigious and exciting opportunity rarely comes along, so we are without doubt extremely fortunate to have him share his passion with our students.
Mr Peter Houlihan