From the Principal

Welcome back for Term 3. I trust that all our De La Salle families had an opportunity to down tools in the term break, however briefly, and take advantage of the chance to spend time with family and friends.

While the school year is demanding for students at all levels and we expect each of them to strive to achieve their personal best, it is also crucial to plan the year well and take a break when we can. It is through this careful and strategic approach we can keep our energy levels and performance standards where they need to be each month.

In this Duce, I would like to write briefly about the importance of family engagement in ensuring a young man’s success in his schooling. You will probably have heard me speak at various functions about the importance of community, of parents’ involvement and of partnership between staff, parents and students.

In the recent term break I undertook a Principals’ leadership course and one of the key topics was family engagement, defined as, “the various ways that a child’s adult caretaker (biological parents, foster parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.), at home, school or in the community, effectively support children’s learning.” The Latin root of the word “engagement” is “engare” which means to make a formal agreement, to contract with; to pledge; an obligation to do something. Clearly, we all have an obligation to do all we can to support our students in their learning and school experience in general.

Students with ‘Engaged Families’;

  • Exhibit faster rates of literacy acquisition
  • Earn higher grades and test scores
  • Enrol in higher-level programs
  • Adapt better to school and attend more regularly
  • Have better social skills and behaviour
  • Complete secondary and go on to higher education (Dr Karen L. Mapp, 2018)

It is in this context that I am encouraging parents to work closely with their Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 students in the coming weeks as we navigate the 2019 Subject Selection process.

Success in the senior years depends largely on careful research and planning, high levels of organisation and a precise understanding of the subjects one chooses and their assessment implications. Discussion, collaboration and interaction between teachers, students and parents is an intrinsic feature of the process. When parents are part of the procedure, aware of and supportive of the school’s advice and processes, and support their sons with high expectations there is a higher degree of success in making appropriate course selections.

At De La Salle we have a tremendous tradition of community; an environment where we support our own and look after each other for the general betterment of the Lasallian community we all enjoy being a part of. In the next few weeks, we have the Subject Selection process and the Semester 2 parent/teacher interviews. The planning and protocols around both these important periods on the school calendar are designed to maximise students’ learning and progress. Effective family-school partnerships support student progress and overall school improvement. They also connect families’ knowledge and engagement to the students’ learning. As a school, we at De La Salle strive to create and maintain a welcoming and inviting culture, where parents feel well-informed and supported. This, in turn, is designed to enable and empower parents to support, encourage and monitor their sons.

A good deal of information, advice and support is provided to students around what’s expected of them in class and assessments. Many teachers also make this available to parents via email, via OLLIE and in conversations. I would encourage all our parents to continue to engage with your sons’ learning as Semester 2 rolls on. In this way, we can develop increased consistency around academic expectations and standards and work together to best ensure our students’ ongoing development, progression, learning and wellbeing. Surely, noble goals for all in our community.

Mr Peter Houlihan

Back to The Duce Issue 2018 10 - 26 July 2018