The Duce Issue 2020 06 - 4 June 2020

From the Principal

The past week has seen things return to something very much like our normal operations at Kinnoull as we welcomed the VCE students back last week. 

Standing out in the car park to greet the boys was a terrific half-hour, despite the cool morning! It was tremendous to see so many of our wonderful young men in such high spirits and actually conceding it was really good to be able to come to school. The opportunity to return to face to face classroom learning and to connect with friends and staff was a welcome respite from the many weeks of lock down.

These periods of difficulty, inconvenience or even adversity nearly always bring a variety of positives as well. This has certainly been the case since we moved to remote learning from March 23. I have been heartened by the very many stories from staff, relayed with great pride about how well so many of the students dealt with the challenges of the transition to learning from home. For many, it demanded increased levels of organisation, independence and resilience. That so many of our young men at all levels stepped up and embraced this is a credit to them, their families and especially their teachers who provided so much guidance and support from a distance.

I must also acknowledge the many parents who wrote to me and other staff during the past couple of months with positive feedback and gratitude for the way we’d handled the situation. It really was a boost to receive these message of support as everybody in the school worked so hard, navigating literally unprecedented circumstances to ensure classes were delivered, learning continued and wellbeing was monitored. 

We are reviewing all that has occurred during the period of remote learning and compiling a list of what strengths and qualities came out of the experience which we would want to take advantage of and keep. These revolve around central elements of our school experience such as effective and efficient use of ICT, pedagogy, independence and responsibilities of staff and students respectively, tracking and monitoring academic progress and wellbeing issues. This will not only assist in the improvement of how we operate under normal circumstances, but better prepare us in the event of another school closure.

There were certainly students who did not find the experience so positive and I am very grateful for the tremendous efforts of our Wellbeing Team who have been in constant contact and dialogue with a broad range of students and parents providing support, a sympathetic ear, advice and reassurance. As the VCE students returned last week, and as we prepare for the Year 5 – 10s to resume on Tuesday the Wellbeing Team’s primary focus is targeted and personal interventions to identify and help solve any issues or anxieties around our students’ learning and wellbeing in the return to working on-site.

The return to working on-site has been enabled and supported by an outstanding team effort from a range of staff. Our major focus has been identifying, managing and mitigating the risks associated with moving more than 1000 students and 150 staff back onto our three sites. Much of the detail around this has been covered in my letters and emails to parents already, but the Executive Team, OH and S Committee and staff representatives from each campus have spent countless hours identifying and mitigating potential risks. Strategies, actions, protocols and guidelines covering all these are in place. It has been gratifying to see that when advice comes from the government or CECV around how to prepare schools we have the vast majority of the recommended measures already in place. 

With the cancellation of on-site tours due to COVID-19 we have quickly moved to launch our very own Virtual Tours and online presentations from key staff outlining who we are and what we stand for as a Catholic, Lasallian community. I would encourage you to take a look at these and share the good news about De La Salle College with any prospective families. The Virtual Tour can be accessed by clicking here. In the next week, 4 parent information videos will also be available online. These are valuable and indeed critical additions to our Marketing and Development arm and I am very grateful to our innovative and dedicated team who are working so hard to promote the College and all we have to offer in these challenging times.

Wednesday of this week marked the beginning of our three-day cycle of Semester 1 Parent/Teacher Interviews. With the prevailing circumstances necessitating a move to these being conducted online via Microsoft Teams it will be literally a novel experience, but one we expect to work well given the success of this platform in the past few months. Details around booking times and how to operate Teams with your son(s) have been emailed home so I hope you are all working on booking these critical interviews to establish how your son(s) has performed thus far and set goals for further improvement as we move into Semester 2 next term.

This week we have Tiger Turf working in the Tiverton courtyard on the site of the old handball courts to install synthetic turf on the concreted area. This will not only sharpen up significantly the aesthetics but also provide another popular and safe area for the Years 7 students to play when they return next week.

Enjoy your long weekend and we look forward to welcoming the boys back on Tuesday.

Peter Houlihan

Faith and Mission

Reconciliation Week

Over the past week, Australia has celebrated National Reconciliation Week. The theme this year for National Reconciliation week is In This Together. Dates that signify milestones in the history of our reconciliation journey are May 27, which marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum when Australians voted to remove clauses in the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We remember that June 3, 1992 marks the historic Mabo decision in which the High Court of Australia recognised Native Title—the recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights over their lands, did survive British colonisation. 

We remember that on May 26, 1998 the first National Sorry Day was held to commemorate the anniversary of the report of the 1997 National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. A day to remember the grief, the pain, the suffering and injustice experienced by the Stolen Generations. Effects that are so traumatic and painful that these removals are still felt by succeeding generations today. 

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Let us always acknowledge that the disconnection and removal from culture, country and identity was damaging. 

Let us always acknowledge and remember those who never found their way back home to family, to community and to country.

May we always acknowledge and offer our support for healing. 

Old Collegian and 2018 Vice Captain — Joshua Paul 

Many of you will know Josh Paul, Old Collegian and 2018 College Vice-Captain, who has set aside two years to the Lasallian Volunteer Program. Josh volunteered in 2019 as a Lasallian Volunteer in Middle Swan, Perth and this year again in Balgo. 

In the link below, Josh speaks of his decision in Year 12 to become a Lasallian Volunteer and the impact the experience of volunteering has had on him so far. 

Please click here to watch the video of this impressive young man, a De La Salle Old Collegian. 

Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission 


Asthma and Coronavirus 

The Australian Asthma Foundation states: “If a viral illness is a trigger for your child’s asthma, take similar precautions you would take at the start of the cold and flu season but add some of the things we’ve all adapted during COVID-19.” 

The message of hand hygiene and physical distancing continues to be important factors to assist minimizing the risk of contracting coronavirus and transmission of the virus among our community. 

  • If your son suffers from asthma, please consult with your Medical Practitioner for individual advice to discuss your son’s triggers, the patterns of their illness (when, how often, and how severely they experience their symptoms) and their current level of asthma control. 
  • Discuss the possibility of starting preventer asthma medication.
  • Request an updated written Asthma Action Plan — to be supplied to the College Health Centre.
  • Check that your son’s inhaler technique have been reviewed by your Medical Practitioner to ensure they are receiving the right dosage of medication to their lungs. If your child is using a puffer device, ensure you have a spacer to maximize the benefits of the asthma medications and reduce potential side effects.
  • Keep your son at home if they are unwell and consult with your Medical Practitioner regarding any Asthma symptoms.

The Asthma Foundation has also provided a list of FAQ’s to assist making informed decisions regarding coronavirus and asthma management, Asthma and Coronavirus.

Further resources are available to assist with further information regarding your son’s asthma:

  • 1800 Asthma (1800 278 462) a free service from Asthma Australia for people with asthma and their carers where you can speak to an Asthma Educator about your asthma questions and concerns. 
  • Coronavirus Health Information Line (1800 020 080) - for information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Jessica Alger
Deputy Principal — Stude

The CSPV (Catholic School Parents Victoria) has released the latest edition of its newsletter. To access it, please click here.

The New ‘Normal’

Victoria is in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and much has been written and said about the frightening nature of coronavirus, however De La Salle Staff and the Health Centre tackled the reopening of the College with vigour.

The Victorian Chief Medical Officer briefed all Victorians on the restrictions required to reopen and gave two weeks’ notice to implement them. 

We were lucky, our College COVID19 Response Team had anticipated most of the brief and our Maintenance Team had already tasked our reliable plumbers to replace all drinking fountains with bottle refill nozzles. A checklist was written and one by one we ticked off the restrictions to meet the strict guidelines mandated by our Government. 

There was much to be accomplished in a short timeframe. Policies and procedures were ratified, classrooms and staff rooms were addressed, desks removed and campus libraries reconfigured to accommodate the new “normal”.

Hand sanitiser bottles were ordered and whilst there was a slight delay in rolling out the corridor hand sanitisation stations, exact locations were identified to capture high volume traffic areas and maximise usage of the hand hygiene protocols. 

Our College community members will be forgiven if they step inside our gates and think they are entering their local supermarket or shopping centre. They will recognise the now familiar distinctive coloured floor decals reminding us to social distance 1.5 metres and will not have to glance very far to view a series of hand sanitisation posters plastered on our internal and external walls and sign posts. 

The uncertainty surrounding this coronavirus is one of the hardest things to handle. We don’t know exactly how we will be impacted, but the College Executive and the Health Centre can assure you, we have taken every step to minimise the risk and will do our utmost to help slow down the spread of the virus. Staff, parents and students alike can assist our capabilities to tackle this coronavirus by doing their bit to “slow the spread”. 

The Health Centre makes no apology if you receive a telephone call requesting you to pick up your son. We all have the responsibility to look after each other according to the message, “If your child is feeling ill or unwell, you must not attend school. You must remain home and seek medical advice”. This instruction will be strictly complied with to protect our entire Community. Please email or telephone 0427 503 774 if your son has been tested and awaiting results and Kylie Upton will discuss processes to follow.

See: Royal Children’s Hospital informative fact sheets: RCH & Coronavirus and Supporting your child to cope with the COVID19 pandemic.

Kylie Upton
Health Centre, De La Salle

Teacher / Staff Q and A

Luke Serrano, Music Coordinator

Can you give us a brief description of your position? 

I manage the day to day operations of the Music Department and lead our efforts to continually improve the provision for Music at De La Salle across the classroom, instrumental and ensemble programs. I teach the Year 8 and Senior Music classes and am the co-composer and Musical Director of the College Senior Musical Production.

How long have you taught at De La Salle? 

Since February 2019.

Can you tell us something special about teaching at De La Salle?

I really appreciate the intimacy of De La Salle College, and the wonderful balance that De La Salle enjoys; it’s large enough that we can aim to achieve terrific educational outcomes across a wide variety of disciplines, yet small enough that we can keep sight of all individuals, staff and students alike. 

Who is someone you admire and why?

I admire anyone who demonstrates kind leadership and thoughtful initiative, using their talents, insights and personal qualities to bring benefits to others. It can be a Head of State or a Year 5 student, it doesn’t matter. 

Do you have any pets? Can you share a picture? 

My saxophones are my pets, and they bug me for a walk on a daily basis. 

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I dreamt of being a songwriter as a young child, then a classical composer in my teenage years. 

Which is your House and who do you support in the AFL?

Leo, Essendon.

Shane Mackintosh, Director of Students — Senior Years

Can you give us a brief description of your position? 

The Director of Students (Senior Years) is responsible for ensuring the Lasallian charism and Catholic values are developed and nurtured within the College community. Primarily, my role is to support the House Coordinators and House Mentors in nurturing and guiding the educational, social, physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of students at Kinnoull.

How long have you taught at De La Salle? 

15 years.

Can you tell us something special about teaching at De La Salle?

What resonates with me when reflecting on why it’s so special to be part of the De La Salle College is the spirit that exists between all members of the community. There is genuine care for others that permeates across the community. From past experiences, this quality is rarely found to this degree in other industries or work places.

Who is someone you admire and why?

People who’ve had amazing experiences I find fascinating and inspiring. Learning how some individuals have had to overcome significant challenges in their lives reminds me how fortunate and grateful I am for the life that I have.

Do you have any pets? Can you share a picture? 

We have a family cat called Jimmy. He’s a rescue cat and we’ve had him for 4 years now. Jimmy was named after the famous musician Jimmy Hendricks because of his crazy mannerisms. 

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was younger I desperately wanted to play AFL for the mighty Magpies. When that ‘dream’ was unfulfilled, part of me that wanted to become a teacher someday. This realization became a reality after working in the private sector for 5 years, I returned to university as a mature age student and completed my Graduate Dip Ed. I have absolutely no regrets about my career change. I love working in education and feel blessed to be working in this community. 

Which is your House and who do you support in the AFL?

Of course my alliance is still with Austin’s House even though I’m supposed to be neutral. I’ve been a lifelong supporter of the Collingwood FC. What can I say, it’s in my family DNA! GO PIES! 

Important Dates

Important upcoming dates in the College calendar 

Queens Birthday - no classes
Years 5 to 10 students return to on-site classes
Parent Teacher Interview 2.00pm - 8.00pm
Professional Practice Day - no classes
Parent Teacher Interviews 9.00am - 3.00pm - no classes