Deputy Principals’ Column

Staff and Operations

Lost Property

Parents and students please note there is a large collection of lost/unclaimed items of uniform at the Tiverton Campus reception area. Some of these items were unclaimed from last year. Students who may have lost items of uniform this year or last year are asked to check the lost property area as soon as possible. Parents are reminded to ensure their son’s uniform items are clearly labelled. Thankyou.

Parent/Teacher Interviews

Year 7 — 12 Parent/Teacher Interviews will be held at the Tiverton Gymnasium on Thursday 16 March, 2:00pm — 8:30pm and Wednesday 22 March, 2:00pm — 8:30pm. Teaching staff may request an appointment with parents of a particular student and parents will have two opportunities to schedule interviews with their son’s teachers.

Parent Teacher Online (PTO) must be used to make appointments. Parents will receive their login details via email by Wednesday 1 March. Please contact Mrs Patricia D’Arcy if you experience any difficulty logging in.

The timeline for making appointments is:

Date Parent Teacher Appointment Event
Friday 3 March PTO bookings open to parents — 6:00am
Tuesday 14 March PTO bookings close to parents — 11:55pm
Thursday 16 March Parent/Teacher Session 1 — 2:00pm — 8:30pm
Friday 17 March PTO bookings open to parents — 6:00pm
Monday 20 March PTO bookings close to parents — 11:55pm
Wednesday 22 March Parent/Teacher Session 2 — 2:00pm — 8:30pm

*Please note: classes will conclude for students at the end of Period 4 (12:53pm) on both Parent/Teacher Interview days.

Mr Tom Ryan
Deputy Principal – Staff and Operations

Faith and Mission

Opening and Welcome Mass — St Patrick’s Cathedral

This Thursday 23 February, the College celebrates the Opening and Welcome Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. It is a true celebration that marks the official commencement of the school year and also provides us with an opportunity to break bread together in the celebration of the Eucharist. The Opening and Welcome Mass is also a time where we are able to formally welcome all newcomers to the College, in particular the Year 4 and Year 7 students who are new to our Lasallian family. The celebration also recognises and celebrates the newly inducted 2017 College Leaders.

Archbishop’s Visit

Last Wednesday 15 February, the College was fortunate enough to receive a visit by His Grace, Archbishop Denis Hart. It was wonderful and extremely heartening to see our Student Leaders engaged in rich, faith filled conversation with the Archbishop. When they were asked to express what it meant to be a student of De La Salle College the boys spoke openly and honestly about brotherhood, connectedness, being Lasallian, social justice, Mission Action Day, House charities and the inspiration of St John Baptist de La Salle. It was inspiring to see how all these things reminded the meeting attendees of the true calling of what it means to be Christian; that we are people of love, peace and hope. And that where we see the cross, we ought to be reminded of the resurrection because that is what gives us hope.

De La Salle students and staff with His Grace Archbishop Denis Hart.
Left to right: Mrs Rana Brogan, Mr Peter Houlihan, His Grace Archbishop Denis Hart, Rev Fr Laurie, St Joseph’s Parish Malvern

Year 12 Retreat

In my previous Duce article, I mentioned the upcoming Year 12 Retreat experience. The Retreat took place 6–8 February and I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the Year 12 students on the way they entered into the experience. The Retreats are an important time away, providing opportunities for the students to develop their relationships with staff and their fellow House members, to reflect on influences that have shaped them and their values, to question who they are called to become and to explore how our faith tradition can support us in our life journey. Our students accepted these challenges with integrity and supported each other through their honest reflections and how they can grow to become the best versions of themselves. I know that by continuing to support each other throughout the year as they did on retreat, the students will ensure a positive final year at the College. I would also like to thank the following staff who attended the Retreat in support of our Year 12 students and of the program;

  • St Austin’s House – Mr Shane McIntosh, Ms Joan Ferguson, Ms Ellen Cotter, Mr John McIlroy
  • St Edwin’s House – Ms Jess Stevenson, Ms Clare Kennedy, Ms Georgina Dwyer
  • St Leo’s House – Mr Michael Watty, Mr Anthony Freeman, Mr Graeme Lawler, Ms Lisa Harkin
  • St Mark’s House – Mr Paul Harrup, Ms Trish Burke, Ms Janet Holden, Mr Peter Houlihan

And to all of the Old Collegians who so willingly gave up their time to be involved by running group sessions and sharing their personal stories and experiences also; Thomas McDonald, Sri Kumar, Xavier Joseph de la Masee –Homsey, Anthony Arceri, Tim Fierenzi, Sean O’Callaghan, Stefan Kokkas, Lachlan Bulman, Thomas Ponissi, Keiran Walsh, Michael Canny and Liam Murphy.
A final thanks to Mr Tom Ryan who supported the day to day running and logistics of the retreat. And to Father Martin Tanti SDB who attend the three days away and made it possible for us to celebrate Mass together.

Mrs Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission



When people walk through the gates at De La Salle, they quickly notice that there is something very special here. This year, each of the Houses at Kinnoull Campus will host a House Welcome and Liturgy; a student‐led liturgy to welcome the students and families of all students at Kinnoull Campus. I’m looking forward to meeting many of you on the night.

Extended Absences

Parents and carers are encouraged not to withdraw their children from school for family holidays. Families should try to arrange holidays during school vacations. If your family holiday is during school time, inform the Director of Students in advance and request leave and/or an exemption from school.

Please note: Requests for an extended leave of absence for a holiday must be made in writing to the Directors of Students: Mr Luke Kenealy (Director of Students 4 – 9) and Mr John McAlroy (Director of Students 10 – 12) Students can access coursework via Moodle/Ollie.

Positive Education and Flow

Do you remember that moment when creativity and productivity sprung from your mind smoothly? According to positive psychology cofounder Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this state is called flow, and it is an important contributor to creativity and wellbeing. The experience of flow is universal and it has been reported to occur across different classes, genders, ages, cultures and it can be experienced in many types of activities.

If you’ve ever heard someone describe a time when their performance excelled and they used the term being “in the zone”, what they’re describing is an experience of flow. It occurs when your skill level and the challenge at hand are equal.

Here are some of the characteristics that comprise Csikszentmihalyi’s definition of optimal flow performance.

The 8 Characteristics of Flow
Csikszentmihalyi describes 8 characteristics of flow:

  • 1. Complete concentration on the task
  • 2. Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
  • 3. Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
  • 4. The experience is intrinsically rewarding, has an end itself
  • 5. Effortlessness and ease
  • 6. There is a balance between challenge and skills
  • 7. Actions and awareness are merged, losing self‐conscious rumination
  • 8. There is a feeling of control over the task

Who Experiences Flow?
Interestingly, a capacity to experience flow can differ from person to person. Studies suggest that those with ‘’autotelic personalities’’ tend to experience more flow.

If you’d like to learn more, click on the following link: Flow by Csikszentmihalyi.

Adapted from the Positive Psychology Program (December, 2016)

The Importance of Sleep and Academic Performance

Sleep plays a fundamental role in the way we learn. Emerging evidence makes a compelling case for the importance of sleep for language learning, memory, executive function, problem solving and behaviour during childhood. An optimal quantity of sleep leads to more effective learning in terms of memory consolidation and knowledge acquisition. Poor quality of sleep – caused by lots of waking up during the night tends to be a strong predictor of lower academic performance, reduced capacity for attention, poor executive function and challenging behaviours during the day. Many of our young men are sleep deprived and some gain less sleep than the average recommended level – around nine hours for this group. Sometimes due to school commitments, teenagers are required to wake up early at a set time even if they have not achieved the optimal number of hours sleep. Limiting the consumption of energy drinks and coffee, and social media use half an hour before habitual bedtime will support better sleeping habits and academic performance. Prioritising a good night’s sleep will have long‐term impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of our young men and on their academic success.

The Common Ground: Mindfulness and Martial Arts

Some of the Tiverton students were telling me about how they study martial arts. Activities like Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Judo, Kung Fu and Aikido are a fun way for boys to achieve fitness and focus. From a wellbeing perspective, martial arts is a mighty vehicle to learn self‐discipline and socialisation. According to the Tiverton students, instead of teaching children how to fight, their martial arts classes were teaching them “discipline and perseverance.”

When I watch the Tiverton students doing something they like; it is like the learning process is expedited. When they practice martial arts, the state of mindfulness, full attention to the present moment is both simple and challenging. But, say experts, it’s the respect boys learn, whether from bowing or standing still and waiting for the next command, that can be the most important benefit. When there is a passion, work and learning become intrinsic. At a first glance, speed, coordination and explosiveness are the results of studying martial arts. In both the physical and spiritual sense, focusing on perception, gratitude and compassion (including self‐compassion), develops an awareness that trickles into every aspect of these boys’ daily lives. It provides a powerful lens through which they view challenges, setbacks and stumbling blocks.

From my conversation with these Tiverton students, I could see that they are developing a strong sense of self and their place in the world. By training through their mistakes, these students are learning to use them as tools to evolve and consequently become better. I am proud of our students and the way they embrace everyday challenges.

Every Day Counts

How can I get my son to school?
Many young men seek independence and think they know best. No matter how hard parents/guardians try, some young men may be reluctant or even refuse to go to school. These are some ideas which may assist parents/guardians to deal with their son and school refusal. Addressing attendance issues promptly and setting up good patterns in adolescence can lead to future success.

Did you know?
• Patterns of late arrival at school or missing classes are early warning signs;
• Missing one day of school each week adds up to 2 months missed over a year;
• Each day absent in high school has an impact on skill development and social connections;
• Poor attendance may be associated with future unemployment, criminal activity, substance abuse, and poorer health and life expectancy.
Some causes of school problems
Some of the more common causes of school problems are underlying learning difficulties or learning disabilities or behavioural or emotional issues. But there are many other reasons why a young man might not be engaging fully in their education.

School factors might include:
• Bullying;
• Disliking, or not feeling connected to, the school culture or environment;
• Disliking school subjects, not liking the choice of subjects, or not feeling challenged by the work;
• Poor school or academic support, especially in relation to heavy workloads;
• Not getting along with teachers or other students at school;
• Competing demands on time, such as extracurricular activities.

Personal factors might include:
• Chronic illness;
• Intellectual or cognitive disability;
• Behavioural or developmental difficulties or disorders;
• Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety;
• History of abuse and neglect;
• Poor self‐concept or self‐esteem;
• Poor communication skills;
• Poor social skills;
• Difficulty with listening, concentrating or sitting still.

Family factors might include:
• Parents who aren’t involved in their child’s education;
• A home environment that doesn’t or can’t adequately support a young person’s learning;
• Family problems such as relationship breakdowns;
• Competing family or social responsibilities, such as caring for family members, or working outside school hours.

What you can do?
• Act early;
• Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, make that the expectation. Regular attendance at school sets up good behaviours for regular attendance at work;
• Help your son maintain daily routines such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep. On average, teenagers need 8 — 9 hours sleep to be healthy and alert;
• Monitor their use of the internet, mobile phone and TV at night to ensure they are not staying up too late or being disturbed while sleeping;
• Try not to schedule hair, dental or medical appointments during school hours;
• Arrange family holidays during scheduled school holidays so that they don’t miss out on classes and feel left behind;
• If it is necessary to be absent from school for an extended period, contact the Director of Students;
• Don’t let your son stay home unless he is genuinely sick;
• Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety;
• If your son wants to stay home to finish an assignment, rather than letting them stay home, expect them to go to school – make attendance the number one priority;
• Discuss with your son how he can improve his study habits or adjust his schedule;
• Encourage your son to use Ollie and his College Diary to plan his study so that he avoids working late the night before an assignment is due;
• Be sure to set a good example – how you meet your commitments impacts on how they will meet theirs;
• Talk to your son. What are their feelings about school? What interests them at school? Are there any difficult situations? It helps if you open these discussions in a relaxed way so that your son knows you are demonstrating concern, not authority;
• Try to be aware of your son’s social contacts. Peer influence can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated;
• Encourage meaningful extracurricular activities that your son enjoys, such as sports and clubs, to develop positive relationships and experience success outside of a classroom setting. These activities can help your child feel part of the group, important to the school, and more motivated;
• Set clear parameters around part‐time work. Make sure that the hours your son is working do not impact on their ability to go to school the next day, or interfere with school assessment expectations or exam preparation;
• Familiarise yourself with the College Attendance Policy. This can help when trying to reason with your son;
• Monitor your son’s attendance and school performance. Periodically check with their teachers to find out how things are going;
• If you find it difficult to contact several different teachers by phone, try email. Alternatively, the Class/House Mentor or Year Level/House Coordinator may be a helpful point of contact in relation to specific issues;
• Ask us about what types of flexible or blended learning options we offer.


You can talk with school staff (such as your son’s teachers, Class/House Mentor, Year Level/House Coordinator, Director of Students, Careers or Student Counsellor or Deputy Principal – Students) to find out what support they can provide to keep your son attending and engaged.

Useful Contacts and Websites or phone 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day, 7 days
Parentline – phone 13 22 89 8.00am to midnight seven days a week.

Ms Lisa Harkin
Deputy Principal – Students

Back to The Duce Issue 2017 02 - 23 February 2017