Deputy Principals’ Column

Learning and Teaching

Conferral of Academic Awards

On Wednesday 26 July, we celebrated the academic achievements of Semester One. It was wonderful to see so many parents and families present in support of our students while the 217 awards were being conferred across the College. All of the students who were acknowledged on the day had demonstrated their abilities in a way that deserved our collective praise and attention. It was through their application and commitment that they achieved such successes.

Talent and aptitude are only a small part of success. More telling is the work you put into something, but — a caution here. Working slavishly and indiscriminately is not enough either. Whilst work itself is necessary for learning, it is not learning. To learn something requires much more. Learning begins with belief. It is the belief that you are able to do or know something new and unknown. Unless we have the confidence to tread into the unknown, it can be a punishing thing to face. Many of you will have heard the idea of a having a ‘growth’ rather than a ‘fixed’ mindset. I’ve been encouraged to hear that this has been explored and taken up by a good number of students and teachers in recent months. Having a growth mindset is supported by extensive research on the brain which confirms that any individual is able to increase their capacity and ability. The brain has been discovered to be an amazingly adaptive organ. It is not the case that you are born with limits on your intellect. It can grow and strengthen, just as your body does through physical training and conditioning. In short, you can do whatever your belief and commitment to work and effort will allow you to.

In the coming months, as a College, we begin preparations for 2018. Subject and course selection processes commence this week. I ask students to be clear about what is and isn’t for them next year by doing what they are doing right now, bravely and wholeheartedly. In my experience, when this happens, options open up, new possibilities emerge and things that may previously have been tedious or uninspiring take on a brand new life.

The reward that a combination of self-belief and committed effort will inevitably lead to is personal success. Such success does not require a formal acknowledgement like our assembly or the certificate our achievers are presented with, but these formalities are important because they show that it is understood what it takes to do something exceptionally well, especially for those who have worked so hard for it.

Congratulations to all of our Academic Endeavour and Academic Achievement Award recipients. Those who received an Achievement Award, reached the pinnacle of performance in their given area. Endeavour Award recipients earned our admiration through their exceptional efforts to improve. For all of the students who did not receive an award, we ask ‘what can be learned from the achievements of Semester One to assist in this critical time in our studies and decision making?’ Certainly, I would hope and expect that you are making some progress. If that’s the case, then allow yourself to feel satisfied with what you have achieved, but importantly keep striving for ways to go further, because it’s likely that when things seem at their most difficult and most uncertain, that the most valuable learning is taking place.

Mr Mark Gustincic
Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching

Faith and Mission

Charitable Donations

Recently, communication was sent to all families in the College with a request for their generous support by donating a range of non-perishable food items and toiletries. 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;

  • Primary: St Joseph’s Outreach Centre, South Yarra.
  • Years 7 — 9: Sacred Heart Mission, St Kilda.
  • Years 10 — 12: Malvern Emergency Food Program.

This winter, there is a real need to support 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 our families and the donations you are able to provide are most appreciated.

St Therese’s Wilcannia

Early Monday morning, the VCAL Educational Tour to St Therese’s School in Wilcannia, NSW departed from the College. Wilcannia is a small town located within the Central Darling Shire in north western New South Wales and St Therese’s is a K‑3 school.

At De La Salle College we hold strongly to the Lasallian charism and tradition of supporting communities in need and in affecting positive change for those who have little hope. It is important for the young men here at De La Salle to live out our Catholic Social Teaching and to be the Lord’s presence by committing themselves to the service of the poor and particularly, supporting our indigenous brothers and sisters where there is a dire and desperate need.

On their way to Wilcannia, the group had an overnight rest in Mildura, and I think the accompanying photo clearly reflects the mood and spirit of the group already!

Our hope is to develop a permanent, ongoing relationship with the indigenous community and St Therese’s School in the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese, and I wish Mr Tim Hogan, Mr David Murray and the students involved the best of luck as they embark on this wonderful initiative.

Year 10 Reflection Days

This week, our Year 10 students, accompanied by their Religious Education class teacher are embarking on their Reflection Days. The days are run by Lasallian Youth Ministry Team. Knowing and seeing firsthand the work of the Lasallian Youth Ministry Team, I have no doubt that they will present a program to the boys that will be fun engaging and reflective.

Feast of St Mary of the Cross (St Mary Mackillop)

Tuesday 8 August is the Feast Day of Australia’s first saint, St Mary Mackillop, also known as St Mary of the Cross. St Mary Mackillop was an Australian nun who was born in Melbourne, best known for her lifelong commitment to the poor and establishing schools through the order she co-founded, the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

Her motto: “Never see a need without doing something about it”, still has relevance in our world today. More than ever, her message is profoundly relevant to all of us today and one that we should all hear and act upon.

O God, source of all goodness, who has shown us in Saint Mary a woman of faith living by the power of the Cross, teach us, we pray, by her example to live the gospel in changing times and to respect and defend the human dignity of all in our land. Amen

St Mary of the Cross – Pray for us

St John Baptist De La Salle – Pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts — Forever

De La Salle and St Columba’s Community Mass

This coming Sunday 6 August, we have our next Community Mass at St Columba’s Parish, 24 Glen Huntly Road, Elwood. The mass at commences at 9:00am. It would be wonderful to have as many families as possible joining us to celebrate mass.

Mrs Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission


Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships

A new school program is equipping young people with the skills needed to thrive in an ever-changing world.

At a Southern Region Network Meeting on Tuesday 1 August, we listened to Ms Carol Kelly, Project Lead, talk about Respectful Relationships — a prevention education program for primary and secondary school teachers that will be rolled out across all Victorian schools in 2017, following its launch by the Minister for Education Mr James Merlino, the Minister for Families and Children Ms Jenny Mikakos and family violence campaigner Ms Rosie Batty.

Respectful Relationships in schools is about tackling family violence through education. The education program focuses on addressing the underlying causes of family violence, such as gender, inequality and rigid adherence to gender stereotypes.

According to Dr Jessica Crofts, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne,

Young people are a high-risk group for gender-based violence. Compared to other age groups, young women experience higher rates of victimisation and intimate partner violence, and a large proportion of men who have perpetrated sexual violence did so for the first time when young. Acceptance of gender-based violence is also high amongst young people, with one in four prepared to excuse partner violence if the perpetrator was so angry they ‘lost control’.”

Young people of diverse gender or sexual orientation are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence, with school being the most common location where harassment occurs. Unsurprisingly, this leads to higher rates of depression and suicide amongst these groups”, writes Associate Professor Helen Cahill. We now know that this extends into the tertiary education environment. On Tuesday 1 August, the findings from the first comprehensive national survey of student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment at universities have been released by the Australian Human Rights Commission in collaboration with Universities Australia. The national survey findings can be seen here.

We have great faith that our young men can become part of the solution, and look forward to hearing more from their involvement in this program.

Support contacts

Child Safety Report

There is plenty happening across the College to ensure our community is child safe:

  • According to the VRQA, schools have been diligent in responding to the Standards, but most are unaware of the additional changes to the Working with Children Act that come into effect on 1 August. This short video summarises the changes;
  • A significant audit of the Year 9 Lasallian Service was undertaken. Our Year 9 Lasallian Service, sits under Section 5.4 of the Education Training and Reform Act (2006). Click here for details. The Risk Assessment for this structured work placement will be reviewed in light of this feedback. In addition, the students will receive some explicit instruction on the Prevention of Child Sexual Exploitation and Grooming prior to attending their Year 9 Lasallian Service;
  • All Child Safety Policies have been reviewed and two templates have been developed to document responses to suspected child abuse and responding to student sexual offending;
  • An overwhelming number of staff have completed the Australian Childhood Foundation Safeguarding Children Course (to date, we only have 19 non-completers who have requested additional time);
  • Two hours of dedicated professional learning for all staff took place at the beginning of Term 3;
  • Follow up meetings with the Australian Childhood Foundation have been calendared to ensure we are on track with our accreditation process;
  • Two staff have attended the PROTECT Professional Learning. Key messages from the day included:

The community will not respect any institution that doesn’t protect children. The completion of the work of the Royal Commission is only the start of the real work we must continue”.
Jenny Glare

For most people, the value of the Church is in what it does, and social services are to the fore in this. We need to ask what it is about what we do and how we do it that can build a bridge into the community; and to build a culture that is healthy, engaged and relevant, that sends signals that the overall human project is that one of promotion of human flourishing, and not one of judgement”.
Francis Sullivan

Catholic Professional Standards will work to protect children and vulnerable people within all parts of the Church, through the setting of standards, auditing and reporting against them, and naming non-compliance”.
Patricia Faulkner

Notes from the professional learning can be accessed here.

Ms Lisa Harkin
Deputy Principal – Students

Back to The Duce Issue 2017 11 - 3 August 2017