Deputy Principals’ Column
Important information about student welfare and wellbeing, learning and teaching, faith, school events and staff arrangements. All parents are encouraged to read information from the deputy principals to keep up to date with key school information.
Faith and Mission
The Feast of the Assumption
The Feast of the Assumption celebrates Mary’s being taken up to heaven to be with her son Jesus, “taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of Lords and conqueror of sin and death” (CCC 966).
As a College community, we came to gather in prayer on Monday 15 August, to commemorate this holy and important day of obligation on the Christian calendar. The liturgy was beautifully led by our Year 12 Lasallian Captains and saw our College Captain Anthony Arceri officially light the new College Candle and House Captains Sri Kumar, Michael Canny, Will Taylor and Liam Murphy each light the new House candles.
It is worth mentioning also the beautiful singing of Ms Kelly Williams who sang for us the Ave Maria accompanied by Ms Cindy Frost on the guitar. We were also blessed to have in our presence Br Michael Carroll (Superior of the Brothers Community, Malvern) and Br Paul Toohey.
St John Baptist de La Salle in his meditation (no. 156.2) states “that the special grace we ought to ask, of the Blessed Virgin, on this day, the Feast of the Assumption is for us to be removed and to be freed from the corruption of the world and especially to have great purity” in other words, this tells us to pray to Mary to help us to be good, honest people. In the same meditation, St John Baptist de La Salle goes on to say that because Mary possessed this purity, this goodness, it is she then who can also help us to strive for this goodness in our own lives.
Pope Francis reflects on Mary and her expressions of mercy; “At the foot of the Cross, Mary, together with John, the disciple of love, witnessed the words of forgiveness spoken by Jesus. This supreme expression of mercy towards those who crucified him shows us the point to which the mercy of God can reach. Mary attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone, without exception. Let us address her in the words of the Salve Regina, a prayer ever ancient and ever new, so that she may never tire of turning her merciful eyes upon us, and make us worthy to contemplate the face of mercy, her Son Jesus.”
Misericordiae Vultus, Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, 11 April 2015
In the lead up to our Social Justice Mass at the end of Term 3 students in the College will support one of the three following organisations through donations of a range of non-perishable food items and toiletries:
- Primary – St Joseph’s Outreach Centre, South Yarra
- 7 to 9 – Sacred Heart Mission, St Kilda
- 10 to 12 – Malvern Emergency Food Program
All families in the College should now have received communication regarding this program and we thank you for your generosity.
This winter there is a real need to support as many families and individuals in need who are struggling and going without. Each one of us is asked to do the work of Jesus Christ in our communities, by taking the time to help those most in need. And in the words of St John Baptist de La Salle, we “make Christ known to others.”
The generous support of all families and the donations they are able to provide is most appreciated.
St Columba’s Community Mass
On Sunday 7 July, students who arrived at De La Salle from St Columba’s in Elwood celebrated Mass with the St Columba’s community. It was a warm and welcoming celebration of Mass and a wonderful opportunity for students to re-connect with teachers and members of the Parish. It was also lovely to see staff from the College attend in support of the boys: Ms Lisa Harkin, Ms Kerry Martin, Ms Janet Holden and Mr Peppe Di Ciccio.
Fr John invited one of our students to do a reflection after the homily on the topic ‘how we have hearts for social justice at De La Salle College’. Alex Martin in Year 11 took up the invitation and below is a copy of the beautiful reflection he shared with the St Columba’s community:
Good morning, my name is Alexander Martin and I am in Year 11 at De La Salle College Malvern. I’m here today to talk to you all about social justice and in particular how at De La Salle College, we have hearts for social justice.
De La Salle College has always been involved in social justice since its creation in 1912; today 100 years later, and the philosophy of giving back to the community and to those less fortunate than us has not changed. Students are provided with many opportunities to participate in social justice initiatives and each and every boy is invited to improve the standard of living here in Australia or somewhere else in the world.
Once a year at De La Salle, staff and students participate in “Mission Action Day” or MAD, as we call it. Mission Action Day consists of a walkathon fundraiser where all 1200 pupils walk 12 kilometres to raise money for the many Lasallian overseas missions. For the last three years De La Salle students have raised over $100,000 for Mission Action Day, with funds going to the Lasallian Brothers via the Lasallian Foundation who distribute the money to programs in South Sudan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. The money is used to help build new and improved facilities for those who are less fortunate than us and the money we raise makes it possible for thousands of people to have access to things like clean water, education and a roof over their head.
As well as Mission Action Day, the Year 12 students at De La Salle can volunteer to travel to India at the end of Year 12 for a month long program called Coolies. The boys work with the Lasallian schools around Southern India constructing buildings for schools and villages.
In Year 11 students volunteer to travel to Papua New Guinea to help the construction and renovations of a Lasallian school in a remote village. And we also offer an experience to travel to Balgo, in outback Western Australia, to work and live among our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
In Years 9 and 10 there is also an opportunity to participate in a social justice exchange to the Philippines with our brother school, Green Hills in Manila. I was lucky enough to take part in this exchange in Year 9, having the opportunity to not only to contribute to the Filipino community but I had the honour of hosting a student from Green Hills in my home last year. I was extremely lucky to be able to partake in such an overwhelming opportunity; the trip truly opened my eyes to what life is like for many people less fortunate than myself. It also encouraged me to get involved in more social justice opportunities and I hope that when I am in Year 12 next year I am selected to attend the Coolies trip to Southern India.
Each year in Term 3, De La Salle calls upon its students to donate non-perishable food and toiletries to the Malvern Emergency Food Bank, Sacred Heart Mission and St Joseph’s Outreach Program. These donations provide many homeless and needy people in Melbourne with much needed food and personal items, to help uphold the dignity of each person receiving.
To reflect on the action of social justice, a whole school Mass is held on the last day of Term 3. However, this reflection does not draw close the efforts put in to social justice; in fact it almost reignites the fire of wanting to give back.
Although this is not nearly the extent of social justice at De La Salle. We also have a St Vincent de Paul group who support St Vinnies and also hold a Winter Sleep Out at school, we have House Charities that see us support Caritas, Asylum Seekers and the Indigenous Communities, and Christmas in July gift donations to Berry Street.
We are proud to keep up the work of our founder St John Baptist de La Salle, whose mission was to look after the least, the last and the lost. At De La Salle College, we are young men who have true hearts for justice and we try to answer any call for help, whether it come from around the corner or around the world.
In closing I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fr John for inviting me to speak to you today and also Fr Terry before him and the wonderful teachers at St Columba’s for giving myself and my fellow Lasallians, who all went to primary school at St Columbus, for giving us a solid foundation on which to grow and take our place in the world. Thankyou – Alex.
Mrs Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission
Learning and Teaching
Year 9 In9uiry Presentation Evening
2016 saw the establishment of a new focus for our Year 9 Program. Labelled In9uiry, it was developed following extensive research by a committee tasked to provide recommendations for how best to cater to the learning needs of our students at that stage of schooling. What emerged was an exciting plan, to be fully realised in stages over several years. Stage 1 included the introduction of a project requiring the students to engage in a process of action research, whereby small groups of students created a rich question which they then investigated through first-hand experience over four days in Melbourne’s CBD. Prior to the City Experience week, students undertook careful planning. Following, they have been working on preparing their findings for formal presentation. The presentations will be taking place at a special evening, to be held on Thursday 8 September, with family and friends invited to the showcase. Further information will be provided by Heath Tregear, the In9uiry Coordinator, in due course.
School Improvement Surveys
A number of parents will be receiving notification via mail in coming weeks about participation in an online survey as part of the College’s ongoing commitment to the School Improvement process.
The survey is conducted under the auspices of Catholic Education Melbourne (formerly, the Catholic Education Office), with the main aim to identify the strengths and areas for further development for the College. The results are enormously important in shaping strategic directions and plans for our school and also include staff and student feedback.
Although we strongly encourage you to complete the survey, your participation is voluntary.
Individual responses will remain confidential, with feedback received at the end of the process as an aggregation of all responses by parents who participated in the survey.
We ask that the online survey be completed prior to the closing date of Friday 16 September 2016.
Mr Mark Gustincic
Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching
Staff and Operations
There are a number of items of lost property available for collection at each Campus Reception. These include spray jackets, jumpers and rugby tops. All of these are expensive and we endeavour to find the owners of lost items. Parents are asked to get their son to check the lost property collection if they are missing anything. Also, clearly naming garments is the best way to help us return misplaced items to the owners.
As is the case in all schools a number of staff are currently on leave or just about to commence leave. Leave is a fact of life in large organisations and at De La Salle we make every effort to source the best available replacement teachers to cover each staff member’s period of leave.
The leave changes involving teaching staff for the remainder of Term 3 are:
Andrew Murrell until 16⁄9 replaced by Tara Daniel
Paul Coyle until 16⁄9 replaced by Grant Furneaux
Graeme Lawler until 16⁄9 replaced by Grace Gudice
Steve Young until 9/9 replaced by Emily Irwin
Ray Leetham 29⁄8 – 16⁄9 replaced by Jacqui Chalkley and Anette Phillips
Jane Robertson 5⁄9 – 16⁄9 replaced by Penny Karahalios
Brian Coulthard 12⁄9 ‑14/10 replaced by Megan Oliver and Kevin Hunter
Shane Slavin 22⁄8 ‑16/9 replaced by Megan Oliver and Maria Hawley
The College will also host a number of pre-service teachers from a number of different universities for placements with experienced staff from now until the end of term. Placements will occur in History, Geography, HPE, Media, Learning Support and Year 6. Pre-service teachers bring a freshness and energy with them and we are confident that our students will gain enormously from the experience should they be working with a pre-service teacher.
Mr Tom Ryan
Deputy Principal – Staff and Operations
Staff Formation Day
During our Staff Formation Day last Friday, I was interested to hear Tracey Adams, CEO of yourtown, a Lasallian organisation formerly known as BoysTown, talk about her work. She described the way in which yourtown team members take the time to listen to, understand and encourage young people to find their place. Yourtown have wide-ranging client services including counselling and mentoring, family refuges, parenting and family services, education and re-engagement programs, training and employment, work enterprises, Indigenous employment and wellbeing programs. I have a tremendous respect for their grassroots work in supporting young people towards better life outcomes.
Tracey reflected on the way in which yourtown is called to serve every young person, from every street, suburb and town. I liked the way she framed their work — she frequently used the word, “tackle.” “We tackle the issue of youth suicide…”, “We tackle the issue of young people’s consumption of pornography”. I recognised the challenges inherent in her work as evidenced in mine; challenges in keeping young people connected to vibrant communities.
I was inspired by the way that she described the feel of yourtown; the way that her clients need to “feel worthy of being treated as a human being.” Perhaps what stayed with me the most was her reference to the boy they had supported to get his dog back when it had been impounded. The dog was literally all the boy had as a support structure. For the staff at yourtown, going the extra distance seemed to have St John Baptist de La Salle, our patron saint, at the centre of their work.
Tracey spoke of Circular 461, a Lasallian publication that described the fundamental elements of a contemporary, Lasallian Charism as:
- Recognising and dignifying the character and worth of every person within our community as unique and educable.
- Strength through association, enabling community participation as a journey.
- A Lasallian family whereby there are no second class citizens.
Like yourtown, we are we are working towards fulfilling St John Baptist de La Salle’s mission. As St John once said, “You can perform miracles by touching the hearts of those entrusted to your care.” Recognising this potential also requires us to recognise the enormous responsibility that comes with it.
To that end, we have developed a Child Safe Staff Code of Conduct as a means to further strengthen the feel of our College community.
Child Safety – Ministerial Order No. 870
Following Ministerial Order No. 870, schools were given until August 1 to meet a number of minimum requirements, the Child Safe Standards, to ensure that all children and young people are safe within our care. All Victorian schools are required to meet the requirements of the seven Child Safe Standards. There are seven minimum standards that state that schools must:
- have a child safe policy and commitment statement
- develop a child safe staff code of conduct
- further develop processes for staff selection, supervision and management
- adopt principles of inclusion, taking into account the diverse needs of students
- develop specific procedures to respond to and report allegations of suspected child abuse or neglect
- cultivate strategies to promote child empowerment and participation
- develop strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse.
Staff and Student Code of Conduct
Recently, we’ve both a Staff and Student Code of Conduct. The staff code will soon be published on our College website. The College’s current Child Protection Policy, Child Protection – Failure to Protect Policy and Child Protection – Grooming Policy can be viewed on the College website here.
We’ve seen this as an opportunity to develop a Student Code of Conduct and this will be placed in the Student Diary next year. The Student Code of Conduct emphasises the rights and responsibilities of all students. In addition, it describes the behavioural expectations of all boys who wear the mighty blue and gold. I commend both the Year 12 Student Leaders and the Year 9 Class Captains for supporting the development of this code.
Election of the College Captain and Vice-Captains
Approximately fifty Year 11 students have applied for a position of leadership next year. Over the course of the last fortnight we have collected a student leadership application from these young men, gathered feedback through a confidential referee’s report and witnessed many rousing speeches delivered to the College community. Our shortlisted candidates for the position of College Captain and Vice-Captain were a stunning testimony to the calibre of our young men. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing our applicants all the best.
Parent Teacher Interviews
Parent-teacher interviews give you a great opportunity to:
- learn more about your son’s academic, social and emotional development
- meet and get to know your son’s teachers
- help your son’s teachers understand more about your son
- make plans with the teacher about how you can both support your son.
It’s not always practical to have an appointment with each teacher, especially if you have more than one child at secondary school. Instead, talk to your son about which teachers he thinks you should meet. Generally, it’s a good idea to meet with teachers of the compulsory subjects. If you’ve got enough time, you could also talk with teachers in a couple of the electives where your son has the greatest interest or difficulties.
With fewer subjects and teachers in the senior secondary years, it’s easier to make times with every teacher. In fact, this is particularly important during Years 10, 11 and 12 when your son is deciding on subjects and thinking about opportunities after school. If you have a concern about something, it can be helpful to develop strategies in partnership with your son’s teachers and importantly, to agree on who will follow up on the strategies and when.
If you have to discuss any problems with the teacher, it helps to come ready with some possible solutions, or at least some positive and practical suggestions. Be willing to listen to the teacher’s ideas too. The aim is for you and your son’s teacher to work on problems in partnership with each other. After all, you both share the same goal of wanting your son to learn, live, lead and feel successful.
Ms Lisa Harkin
Deputy Principal — Students