Deputy Principals’ Column

Learning and Teaching

Students today are growing up in what have been described as “Accelerated Times”. Progress and change are moving at a pace that hasn’t been seen before in human history. Things that were certain yesterday aren’t necessarily so today. This acceleration has impacted how we live and work and also how we learn at school.

Celebrated American academic John Kotter illustrates the pressures faced by business at this point in time. He points out how important it is for companies to be ahead of their competition by innovating and doing so quickly and aggressively.

Not all that long ago, commercial success was safely attached to quality, consistency and product reach. As an example, McDonalds became an international giant by making a reasonably simple, consistent product that could be made and sold on a global scale. These days, that is not enough. 

Businesses need to adapt to markets that are saturated with choices for consumers. They need to be highly creative, seek out ways to make what they do different from anything else, what they offer more attractive, more available, cheaper. The same is true in education.

In his recent book Australia Reimagined, Hugh Mackay charts the move in Australian schooling to a competition-based model. What that means is that schools are now much more in competition with one another than they were.

Over the past seven years, Australian universities spent a staggering 1.7 billion dollars on advertising. Why? 

There are a number of reasons for this. One of the main ones is that tertiary institutions are competing harder and harder for students, both local and international students. 

Melbourne’s population has seen a huge growth spike over recent years. Local residents numbered 2.6 million people in 1971. Last year, the number reached 5 million. It is expected to rise to 8 by 2051. With more people, there come more students, which in turn, leads to greater competition for places in university courses, and later, jobs. 

Our Year 12 students are in competition. They compete each year with students from across the state and even schools in other parts of the world that deliver the VCE. That even includes students in a handful of schools in China and the United Arab Emirates, amongst others. 

The competition is intense. So, how can every student at the College, not just those currently in Year 12, best prepare to be competitive and successful?

That will be different for each student, but I’ll highlight two things that may be useful to everyone. The first is about the idea of developing Personal Mastery. This is a concept that comes from eminent academic Professor Peter Senge. He describes it as one of a set of qualities that he calls the 5 Learning Disciplines. There are similarities in Senge’s ideas with ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle’s virtues.

Senge’s concept of Personal Mastery is about an individual’s commitment to personal growth and improvement, about learning new skills, but additionally, it involves a person being clear and honest about their purpose, why they do what they do. Also, Personal Mastery requires vision – being able to see a different and better future for oneself and what choices need to be made to get there. He talks about the tension between reaching that better future and the pull of negative or unhelpful thoughts. The take home point here is to stay focussed on improving the skills that will help you reach the future that you want for yourself, and, throughout, to remain positive.

The second consideration is much closer to home in perspective — our own College’s Learning and Teaching Protocols.

What you see on the slide was created by a group of our teachers. It brilliantly describes the ways that effective learning & teaching can happen from Year 5 through to Year 12. The chart outlines the features of effective Learning Strategies, Learning Environment and Learning Goals. Soon, every classroom will have a copy posted on the wall so that it is prominent. This will help all of you to see the various ways that you may work on optimal learning for yourself, your peers and class. I would encourage you to use it as a reference when thinking about how your own skills may be further developed, your purpose for learning and creating your own unique vision for what success will look like for you in the future. 

What we celebrate is how incredibly De La Salle students can rise in the face of intensity, pressure and competition. As their achievements of last year show, they have been disciplined and focused on the rewards that come from perseverance and hard work. The 2018 Year 12 students have assured themselves of University places in highly sought after courses and positioned themselves advantageously in an increasingly globalised workforce, economy and society. They have done this in a way that should inspire us all and make us feel very proud. 

Please join me in congratulating them!

Mr Mark Gustincic
Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching

Faith and Mission

Last Sunday, while sitting in Mass, I was never more acutely aware that I was surrounded by people, who like me, were struggling and affected by the same daily media news. I sat there and in a moment of weakness, I found myself questioning “how can I be strong in faith, when our Church is so conflicted and challenged?”

Whilst it can be an unsettling time and can lead us to ask the question of why we choose to belong to the Church, we must also unequivocally support and always remember the victims of abuse. We must also do all we can to ensure that the tragic events that they have lived never happen again. 

We also must remember the millions of committed Catholic Christians who are moved by faith to do good. Those in our communities who volunteer or work for organisations such as Caritas or the St Vincent de Paul Society to name just two. There are those that provide opportunities that help others to grow to be better versions of themselves; Balgo, Wilcannia, “Yaluwo”, PNG, Mission Action Day, Bethlehem University, and those who we know personally in the Lasallian community that have committed their lives in Sudan or by donating charitable items to Sacred Heart Mission, Malvern Emergency Food Program or St Joseph’s Outreach.

Our Church is about making God’s love real in the world, by making Christ known and loved by the relationships we nurture, grow and care for with others. Our Church is about looking after the suffering, the marginalised, the poor and the vulnerable. 

So as we begin this Lenten season, let us remember those whose lives are tormented by the painful memory of sexual, physical, mental and emotional abuse: this prayer is offered to them, their families and friends. May they experience the love of Christ and may the Lord of all tenderness and compassion, restore their hope and give them peace. 

St John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for Us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts – Forever 

Plenary Council — Student Session 

On Tuesday 26 February, a representative group of the College Student Leadership Team was invited to participate in a listening, dialogue and submission process to the Australian Plenary Council.

A Plenary Council is a gathering of all local churches in a country. And in Australia, the Plenary Council 2020 is being held so that we can dialogue about the future of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Pope Francis has spoken of the need to engage in the world and respond in faith. He said:

The defining aspect of this change of epoch is that things are no longer in their place. Our previous ways of explaining the world and relationships, good and bad, no longer appears to work. The way in which we locate ourselves in history has changed. Things we thought would never happen, or that we never thought we would see, we are experiencing now, and we dare not even imagine the future. That which appeared normal to us – family, the Church, society and the world – will probably no longer seem that way. We cannot simply wait for what we are experiencing to pass, under the illusion that things will return to being how they were before.”

Pope Francis

The journey toward the Plenary Council will help us to prepare to listen to God by listening to one another. It is important to engage and embrace the voice of our students to ensure that they are included in the listening and dialogue encounter in the next two years.

I would like to thank Mrs Joan Ferguson, College Chaplain for her assistance with facilitating this session. 

Ash Wednesday – Wednesday 6 March 

Lent is a time to stop and reflect. It is a time to be still and a time to re-evaluate our lives and the people we are becoming.  It is also a time to think about how we can make a difference, especially to the people around us. 

In the middle of our busy week, we pause together today as a faith community to observe Ash Wednesday. We prepare, to begin our journey through Lent, Holy Week and Easter. God calls us to go beyond ourselves and heed his call to give alms, to be charitable, to fast and to pray. We are called to open our eyes, ears and hearts to the Lords word so that we can truly understand what this means in our lives. 

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday and placing them on the foreheads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”. 

The ashes we receive are a reminder of the simplicity of life. When we are marked with the ashes, we remember that we are not perfect and the cross on our forehead reminds us that we are God’s children and He is full of love for us and is ready to forgive us our sins.

On Wednesday morning, all staff participated in an Ash Wednesday Liturgy in their respective campus Chapel. Students then participated in class and mentor facilitated liturgies. Our Year 9 Holy Eucharist students were able to attend Mass at Holy Eucharist Parish. 

Mrs Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission


Procedure for Early Leavers

A reminder that if your son is unwell whilst at school, he must make his way to the Health Centre or sick bay at the campus he is located at. The First Aid Officer or campus receptionist will then ring you to pick up your son, if deemed appropriate. Students must not call their parents directly to inform them that they are unwell and want to go home. 

Please be aware that students must follow correct procedure in regard to leaving the College early. If students have an appointment and need to leave early, they must present a signed note from you to their Year Level/House Coordinator, receive an Early Leavers Pass and then present this to reception when they leave. No student will be allowed to leave without this process occurring. 

Child Safety at De La Salle

As De La Salle College proudly acknowledges our accreditation by the Australian Childhood Foundation as a Safeguarding Children Organisation, I would like to acknowledge the work done by the Child Safety Team and wider staff at the College. All staff at De La Salle are trained and committed to ensuring the safety of the students at the College. The Child Safety Team – Mrs Joan Ferguson, Mr Andrew Wozencraft, Mrs Kylie Upton, Ms Jessica Stevenson, Ms Georgie Skinner, Mr Anthony Freeman, Ms Sandy Wreford, Mr David Alexander and I – work strategically to ensure that we are engaging best practice here at De La Salle, and offer support and guidance to our colleagues and students. We have also welcomed College Captain, Liam Jenkins, on to the Child Safety Team, in order to ensure that students’ voices are heard in regard to this important area of school life. 

College Captain 2019

The 2019 College Captain, Liam Jenkins, gave a wonderful opening speech at the Academic Awards and Investiture Assembly on Friday 22 February. Click here to read the speech in full. 

Ms Jessica Alger
Deputy Principal — Students

Staff and Operations

Parent Teacher Interviews

Parent Teacher Interviews will be held on Wednesday 20 March and Thursday 28 March from 2:00pm until 8:30pm in the Tiverton Gym. Students will be dismissed after period 4.

Parents will have received this week a letter from the College with full details including Log-in information to make appointments. Please contact Mrs Angela Carlino at Tiverton if you experience any difficulty logging in.

Bookings will open to parents on Friday 8 March at 6:00am. And close on Monday 18 March at 11.59 pm. Parents are asked to make appointments with teachers who have requested an interview. The dinner break for staff is 5:30pm – 6:30pm. Students are expected to attend the interview in full College uniform.

Mission Action Day

Mission Action Day is the College’s major social justice fundraising event for the year with all proceeds going to support Lasallian charitable works both in Australia and overseas.

Thank-you to all those boys who have already made an effort to seek sponsorship for this event. There only about 4 weeks to go and boys should be trying to achieve as many sponsors as possible.  Every sponsor counts and will help push us a College towards our $100000 target.  Parents have traditionally been very supportive of their sons in this endeavour, but it is hoped that boys will not only rely on their parents but seek sponsors from their wider social network or neighbourhood. As a guide we ask that each boy aims for a target of $50 in total sponsorship. 

Mission Action Day to be held on 5 April is a compulsory school day for all students. If any student is unable to attend, the College asks parents to offer a written explanation to be addressed to the appropriate YLC or House Coordinator.

Mr Tom Ryan
Deputy Principal — Staff and Operations

Back to The Duce Issue 2019 03 - 7 March 2019