The Duce Issue 2019 10 - 1 August 2019

From the Principal

This week I would like to begin by explaining the Student Progression and Promotion Policy, a process currently underway, which involves a number of our students.

The Student Progression and Promotion Policy is designed to support, monitor, encourage and guide students whose Semester 1 Report and teacher feedback indicated some issues that need urgent attention. These include, but are not limited to; a consistent pattern of non‐completion of work, lack of homework and revision, lower than expected achievement in assessment tasks, poor application in class and/or ongoing behavioural issues in a significant number of subjects.

Interventions are designed and implemented with the express intention of supporting our young men in their required improvement. For some, it’s simply a stronger work ethic, better organisation, setting goals and developing more independence as a learner.

In some classes, it is the teacher who does most of the heavy lifting. Students need to take more responsibility, know what is expected of them and be prepared to work to the best of their ability to meet the demands of the course.

Working in concert with both the student and parents, a variety of Learning and Wellbeing staff will identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to assist each student to achieve his personal best. With this support mechanism in place, staff, students and parents can identify where the gaps are and agree on committing to a series of strategies to improve.

Another critical consideration is to ensure our students achieve the standard required to genuinely earn promotion to secure a position at the next year level. In Years 10 — 12, a student must demonstrate the attitude, approach and work ethic required to access and continue in the elective subjects of his choice.

Each must be aware of and take responsibility for what is required to navigate his various subjects and meets the demands of each to the best of his ability. His teachers will encourage, guide and support him, but ultimately our expectations are that each student is on board with our standards for learning, endeavour and respect.

The review of Semester 1 Reports also provides an opportunity for staff to identify and acknowledge the very many students who have performed exceptionally well. It is always heartening each semester to read and hear of so many of our young men who have worked in a spirit of cooperation with their teacher, pushed themselves and demonstrated clear progression from earlier in the year. This must be the goal of all our students.

On another subject, I am very excited about our inaugural Blokes and Books Breakfast, to be held in the Gymnasium, 7:30am – 8:30am on Tuesday 13 August. We are already nearing our capacity of 100 but elsewhere in this edition of the Duce you can find details of how to book.

The novel concept (excuse the pun) is that students and their dads come and share in the benefits of reading. We are thrilled to have bestselling author Morris Gleitzman as our special guest. Morris will run a variety of activities while we are served a selection of breakfast treats prepared by our very own VCAL students.

While it promises to be a wonderful, enjoyable morning, the Blokes and Books Breakfast is really about acknowledging and celebrating reading and the almost infinite list of benefits it brings. I am admittedly rather biased and pretty passionate about this – I read my current novel of choice each and every night when going to bed. It’s a terrific way to wind down, escape and prepare to switch off and sleep well.

The relaxation and enjoyment to be found in a great story are obvious, but for our students, it is SO important that they are regular and competent readers. The benefits of reading on literacy skills are indisputable, but strong reading habits develop great skills in so many areas of learning and transfer into other benefits as well. It is just superb that library borrowing rates for our students in 2019 are up 150% from last year!

Mr Peter Houlihan


The future is an unknown country. It is an unfamiliar place, imbued with our hopes and desires, our anxieties and uncertainties. As a projection of our present reality, how we conceive our future is largely dependent upon our current frame of mind.

Mr Mark Gustincic
Deputy Principal — Learning and Teaching

The Role of the DLD — Student Progression

Part of this role is to monitor student progress throughout the College and the work with teachers, mentors and coordinators, to ensure that we are offering support and pathways to individuals and groups of students to achieve their individual success.

Prior to starting at De La Salle College in Year 5 or 7, and again in Year 8 and Year 10, students complete Academic Testing of their skills in;

  • problem‐solving
  • literacy
  • and numeracy

We use this information to identify students who may need support and to make sure we are tailoring our lessons and programs to extend and challenge those that need it. This can include entrance to our GATE and Accelerated Learning Programs at VCE. We track these results alongside our NAPLAN results. We also look at this information when we reviewing student performance to identify those who, through their commitment and effort, are achieving their individual success and those who may need to improve to meet their potential.

Term 3 is a very busy term for the Progression and Wellbeing teams as we are reflecting on Semester One whilst also looking forward to support our students in Years 9, 10 and 11 in choosing their programs and subjects for 2020.

This term we are seeing our Wellbeing team having conversations with students and their parents to discuss strategies to improve their academic performance.

I do the background work to help our Year 9, 10 and 11 students make informed choices about their final years of schooling. However, it is the subject teachers, mentors and House Coordinators who know the students best, and do a lot of the guidance and supporting of individual students.

In Year 9, subject selection runs as part of their Futures theme and the Future Program led by Caroline Fitzpatrick, our Careers Counsellor. I work with students in helping them understand the different options available to them and encouraging them to choose programs where they will be successful, this includes inviting a few very high achieving students to take part in the Accelerated Learning Program.

Similarly, in Year 10 and 11, I work closely with Caroline in providing a structured support program by running the VCE/VCAL, Subject Selection assemblies and Subject Selection Day and helping students prepare for these through their Planning Exercises. 

There are four key messages I have for students to help them be the best they can be:

  • choose the programs and subjects that play to your talents and passions – choose what you enjoy and what you are good at
  • do your research; check prerequisites, speak to people including teachers and older students to find out what it is really like
  • Follow the advice of your teachers, they know your strengths and abilities and can guide you in the right direction
  • Try your best in everything you do, the more you put in the more you get out.

Mrs Lucy Russell
Director of Learning and Development (Data and Student Progression)

Big Choices Ahead

There are many possible pathways leading into the future and at times this multitude of options can be daunting. Although making the best decision for yourself may seem difficult, the first step is to look at the situation as an opportunity for growth. For those big choices ahead are indeed nothing to dread.

To help with the process of pathways decision making, the following steps are a good guide to follow:

Consider all possible scenarios. Where does each choice lead and which decision leads you towards your desired outcome?

Make a Pros and Cons list

Weigh up each possible choice by physically writing out the pros and cons of each potential choice, to ensure you think deeply about a potential decision.

Visualise your final decision, picture how you feel and how you look, what people you respect would think about your decision. Keep this image of your future self in your mind.

What would a younger brother or sister, or your parents say about your decision? If this thought makes you uncomfortable it may be wise to reconsider your choice.

Seek wise counsel

Once you have an idea of what you want, speak to family and friends, talk them through your decision making process and listen to their guidance. It is helpful to receive different perspectives and to have the support of those around you.

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety.”

Proverbs 11:14

Make a choice and sit with it, after you have taken counsel, be sure to make firm in your mind the direction you choose, and sit with this decision.

Evaluate how your choice feels. After being with your choice for some time asses if it continues feeling right. If it still feels right you have made a successful decision.

Finally, we conclude with my personal favourite, prayer.

We pray for wisdom and discernment,

clarity and peace as we move forward

and begin to make new decisions that will set us on a new path,

never forgetting all the support we are blessed with

here at De La Salle College.

St John Baptist De La Salle – Pray For Us

Live Jesus In Our Hearts – Forever

Mr James Biviano
Lasallian Youth Minister


Thanks to all parents for their support in getting their sons back to school for Term 3. This can be a tricky term for students, as they deal with assessments, sport, friendships, social pressures and homework – and are often cooped up inside due to winter weather.

During this time, it is important that you keep channels of communication open with your son and check‐in regarding his progress at school and his wellbeing. If you have concerns, do not hesitate to contact his mentor teacher or House or Year Level co‐ordinator.

The Wellbeing and Learning and Teaching teams are working through a process of reviewing the progress of all students here at the College. In the coming weeks, you may hear from staff with a request for a conversation or meeting. These conversations and meetings are designed to support your soon to be his best, and achieve his full potential. Please support us in making sure your son is on the right path and getting the very best out of himself and his education at De La Salle.

School TV

A reminder to all parents that De La Salle offers the School TV service, which can be accessed from Ollie and on the College website’s useful links.

The School TV site provides videos and information about a wide range of topics such as anxiety, depression, social media and cyberbullying, positive parenting and diet and nutrition. The material can be accessed at any time, and the videos are short and easy to engage with.

Ms Jessica Alger
Deputy Principal — Students

Learning and Teaching

The future is an unknown country. It is an unfamiliar place, imbued with our hopes and desires, our anxieties and uncertainties. As a projection of our present reality, how we conceive our future is largely dependent upon our current frame of mind.

Learning can be thought of as an activity conducted for the benefit of days yet to come. What will be useful for me to know to go on to a successful, fulfilling future? How can I best invest in myself today, in order to reap the benefits at a later time? It is not all that long ago that schooling was considered to be an exercise in preparing young people with the knowledge and skills for adulthood. In this paradigm, students are often seen as empty vessels, waiting to be filled with information that they will draw upon at some point down the road, within a chosen vocation.

This view of formal education is problematic within our contemporary context. The ready accessibility of information through the digital revolution has changed our emphasis on what it is important to learn about at school. Dramatically increasing levels of student retention through to Year 12, expanding opportunities for tertiary study and shrinking industry demand for unskilled labour has caused an adjustment in what is emphasised in school learning.

Last week, a number of our students were conferred with Academic Achievement and Endeavour Awards, at two ceremonies.

Please click here for more photos from the Academic Awards ceremonies for Semester 1, 2019.

In addressing the attendees of those ceremonies, the central point I was hoping to convey was in relation to the importance of academic growth for all students. To summarise, growth in learning is the demonstrable progress that a student has made over a period of time, regardless of their starting point. Seeing growth in learning has been made easier in recent years due to developments in electronic data collection and analysis, supported by appropriate assessment regimes.

The message for students was that irrespective of their current level of academic achievement, maintaining healthy growth and improvement is critical. Over a period of months or years, it is possible for a student exhibiting a commitment to improvement and growth to achieve success. Conversely, those who do not may encounter significant difficulties as they progress through school. Analysing our students’ results over time has shown us that capable students, without applying sustained effort, have underachieved. On the other hand, a number of students coming from lower achievement levels, through a deep, ongoing commitment to improvement, have seen remarkable success by the conclusion of their time at the College.

Throughout the coming term, as students face decisions about their future through the many activities of the subject selection season, it is appropriate for them to consider their choices carefully. Students who choose subjects in areas of prior strength will be in a position to capitalise on their learning successes to date. Those who are seeking new experiences in areas that they are unfamiliar with are encouraged to do so. This, however, requires that study habits, attention to homework, assessment preparation and overall application to their learning are well in place. Students choosing subjects in unfamiliar areas, simply due to a lack of previous success in others should do so with caution. Irrespective, each student going through subject selection over the coming weeks is advised to take advantage of access to advice from the resources provided to them, from families and the teachers who know them.

There is no doubt that students who are showing growth in their learning will increasingly discover that options and possibilities will emerge for them. Those yet to show that they are able to focus on improvement over an extended period of time may find the reflections on what lies ahead for them through the subject selection process to be an opportunity to exert constructive changes. For all students, an honest appraisal of where they sit in terms of their progression in learning, coupled with a positive conception of what the future may hold, will no doubt assist in opening exciting and fulfilling possibilities ahead.

Mr Mark Gustincic
Deputy Principal — Learning and Teaching

Faith and Mission

Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies

Recently, along with colleague and fellow Deputy Principal – Students Ms Jessica Alger, my path led me to New York to complete my third and final year at the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies at Manhattan College.

Each day began as we entered into very meaningful and intentional community prayer, reflection and learning. We received wisdom and insight from the Brothers, practicum lecturers, fellow classmates, and the texts and meditations of St John Baptist de La Salle. 

Words such as “you have been entrusted with this mission” inspired and reminded me that through this experience of Buttimer there is a responsibility to return to and continue the work of St John Baptist de La Salle and the Lasallian Institute.

The opportunity to study at the Buttimer Institute has been both a blessing and a privilege that has reminded me that at the heart of being Lasallian is learning, prayer, building community, caring for those who are entrusted to us and working for those on the periphery. On my return from this experience, my prayer for us as a community at De La Salle College is that we always remember the ones entrusted to us and that we build our community on the virtues and principles that St John Baptist de La Salle modelled with the first Brothers.

Live Jesus in our hearts!

Br Garry Coyte FSC visit to De La Salle College

Students at the College are encouraged to follow a Lasallian pathway after school, should they feel that a life of vocation is calling them. Recently Br Garry Coyte FSC visited De La Salle College to talk to a group of interested Year 12 students on Lasallian Vocations: Youth Ministry, Brothers Vocations and the Lasallian Volunteer Programme.

Most students were particularly interested in the Lasallian Volunteers Programme. Br Garry spent time talking to the Year 12 group about the impact they would be making to the communities they could potentially be working in work in, from outback Australia all the way to Papua New Guinea.

Br Granville Perera Visit from Diyagala Boys’ Town, Sri Lanka

Last Friday, Br Granville Perera FSC, a very special guest from Diyagala Boys’ Town in Sri Lanka spent the day visiting the College. De La Salle Malvern and Diyagala have a very special relationship that has been cultivated in the Yaluwo Immersion over the past couple of years. Br Granville expressed his gratitude and joy in the way that the two organisations work together and it is his hope that we eventually return to Sri Lanka on the Yaluwo Immersion given the Easter Sunday bombings have hindered our return this year due to the heightened security warnings.

Special congratulations to Br Granville on his fifty‐year jubilee as a brother.

Staff “Fanning the Flame of Faith” PL Session

To prepare for the new term, staff participated in a second formation session with how we, as Catholic educators, ought to go about fanning the flame of faith within our students. We were reminded that to do that, we need to ensure that the fire is alight within us and that if we are called to be participants of Christ as teachers, then we need to know it, we need to live it and we need to model it to those in our care.

To fan the flame of faith in our students, we need to fan the flame within our hearts first and recognise that we are all participating in the mission of Jesus. We must allow ourselves to be drawn to the heart of Jesus, to understand the humanity of Jesus and this, in turn, will increase our desire to fan the flame and increase our love for our students.

Mrs Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission

Holy Eucharist Campus

Year 9 Career Pathways — Futures

The theme for Term 3 at Holy Eucharist is ‘Futures’. On Wednesday 23 July, the 2019 Year 9 Careers Program was launched at our innovative, dedicated Year 9 Campus.

The Year 9 Campus stands on the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people. The protocols for formally welcoming guests to Country have been part of their culture for thousands of years, a tradition they call ‘Tanderrum’. Mr Perry Wandin, a Wurundjeri elder welcomed the assembled students in Woiwurrung language and spoke about his family’s history in Victoria.

Our keynote speaker, Mark George, a past student from De La Salle College’s class of 1983 had a remarkable story to share. The theme for Mark’s speech — ‘Anything is Possible’, resonated strongly with our students, as they begin to navigate through the possibilities for their own futures.

As one of the few people to climb the seven summits‐ the tallest peaks of each continent in the world, Mark’s story epitomises the achievement of making a dream become a reality, but not by accident.

In 2012, he became the first and only Australian to reach the South Pole solo and unsupported on skis from the Antarctic Coast, a journey taking just over seven and a half weeks. Amongst other adventures, he has Sea‐Kayaked across Bass Strait leaving from Apollo Bay and recently completed a world record crossing over 1000 sand dunes in the Simpson Desert dragging 200 kilograms of water behind him.

The second week of the Careers program, ‘University Whispers’ featured representatives from four Universities. Monash’s Rock Precinct, Deakin University’s Cyber Security programs, RMIT’s Architecture and Design Facility and the ACU’s Paramedicine course were all showcased to our students.

The third week will take students through a Career questionnaire on WIRL, which will generate pathway suggestions based on students’ responses, helping to guide these students as they begin their subject selection process.

Mrs Caroline Fitzpatrick
Careers Counsellor

Tiverton Campus

Primary School

The Primary School Year 5 and 6 students have finished Semester One, making great gains in their literacy and numeracy skills, as well as posting some terrific results in their specialist subjects of Italian, PE, Music and Drama.

We congratulate the following students in receiving awards for their academic studies in Term 1 and 2 this year:

Semester Awards for Achievement

Year 5 Thomas James
Year 5 Robert (Thomas) Clemow
Year 6 Ethan Eustace
Year 6 Aidan O’Flynn

Semester Awards for Endeavour

Year 5 Christopher Wilson
Year 6 Tom Skaro

Many things to look forward in Term 3 for the Primary School with more details to come in upcoming newsletters and emails:

  • Excursions to Healesville Sanctuary and Scienceworks
  • Dendy Athletics Competition
  • Hoop Time Competition
  • Australian Maths Competition
  • De La Salle Primary Debating Cup

We are always looking for parent involvement so please let Mr Ahern, Mr Kearns or myself know if you are available for any of these excursions or would like to help out in the classroom.

Year 7 and Year 8

The class mentor teachers have been working hard in the first two weeks of Term 3 unpacking all the student’s results and data from the first semester reports. All students have data collected on the following habits and behaviours:

  • Work conducted in class (effort and behaviour)
  • Level of participation and engagement within class
  • Level of completed homework
  • Overall result for assessment tasks in individual subjects

This has allowed staff to track individual performance within specific classes but also gives a clearer picture of the level of progression of students compare to Victorian Curriculum standards, as well as a comparison with various NAPLAN and ALLWELL testing results. We believe this level of evaluation is important to create greater communication between the students, the parents and the Tiverton teaching staff and to raise the academic performance of our students before they enter the Year 9 campus and the Senior School.

As a result of this data, some students who have set personal benchmarks and exceeded expectations will receive academic awards or zeal nominations for all their hard work and effort. Well done boys!

However, those students who fail to reach De La Salle expectations will receive a synergetic notification, parent meetings will be conducted, and a progression contract for that individual student will result. This contract will be reviewed regularly by the class mentor and teaching staff. The aim is to better the work ethic of some of our boys and to strive for personal best whatever that may be.

We thank all parents for their support of this program and we thank Director of Data and Assessment Ms Lucy Russell and Tiverton Progression Coordinator Mrs Emma D’Angelo, and Year Level Coordinators Dr Melissa Walsh and Mr Stephen Brick for their work in this space.

Mr Martin Gibbs
Director of Students — Middle Years

Parent Network News

Father’s Day Breakfast

Tickets are now on sale for the De La Salle College Parent Network Father’s Day Breakfast to be held on Thursday 22 August at 7:15am in the Gym. Don’t miss out! Click here to book your tickets.

A ticket must be purchased for each parent/carer and each student attending. No refunds will be given for cancellations.

The Parent Network is looking for volunteers to assist with preparation and set up for this event on Wednesday 21 August from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and serving and clean up on Thursday 22 August from 6:00am until about 10:30am. If you are able to assist please advise your availability via the e‐form by clicking here. Enquiries to

Christmas In July Dinner

Last Saturday 120 parents and staff pulled on their dancing shoes to celebrate “Christmas in July”.  Merrimu Receptions was transformed into a Christmas wonderland and a very festive night was had by all.

Guests were greeted by De La Salle College’s very talented student jazz band who set the scene with their Christmas themed music to accompany the pre‐dinner drinks and canapés.  The great music continued throughout the night with Lady & The Tramp who drew the crowds onto the dance floor.

A special thank you to Cate Robertson, Sharon Herdman and Jo McAuliffe for bringing the whole night together! The attention to detail was amazing and the countless hours spent by these ladies in preparation, organisation and then clean up on Sunday morning, is very much appreciated.

A highlight of the night was a trip to the “sweet table”, dripping with delicacies including gingerbread houses, brownies, rocky road, chocolates, marshmallows….and more!  Many thanks to our talented bakers Sam Pickering, Cate Robertson, Jo McAuliffe, Sharon Herdman, Lou Harris and Michelle Peterson for providing a delicious selection of treats to top off the meal.

Thank you also to College Photographer Jonathan Hewett for capturing the essence of the night on film, to Angela Carlino for managing all things administrative and to Michelle Peterson and Lou Harris for their assistance with the beautiful decorations.

Thanks also to the following sponsors who provided some fantastic donations for the Door Prizes and Raffle.

Please click here to view more of the festivities in our Christmas in July Photo Gallery!

Mrs Meagan Selkirk
President, De La Salle College Parent Network

Important Notices

Blokes and Books Breakfast

On Tuesday 13 August perennial favourite children’s book author Morris Gleitzman will visit the school for our inaugural Blokes and Books Breakfast.

Morris Gleitzman is an author of books for upper primary and lower secondary school including funny books, books on football and his profound Once, Then, Now series about the experiences of a young Jewish boy in World War II. He is listed in the top 5 most popular authors in the De La Salle library system.

This is an event open to Year 7 and 8 fathers and sons only. Morris will speak during the breakfast about his writing. Fathers will be encouraged to talk to their sons about what they enjoy reading. The event will be catered by the wonderful De La Salle VCAL students. Places are strictly limited and bookings can be made via TryBooking.

Ms Catherine Ryan
Library Team Leader

Parent Teacher Interviews

The interviews will be conducted in the College Gymnasium, Tiverton Campus for Years 7–8 and 10–12 on Thursday 8 August and Wednesday 14 August.

Year 9 Parent‐Teacher Interviews will be held on Monday 12 August and Wednesday 21 August. Ms Lauren Anderson, Year 9 Learning and Teaching Leader will forward more detailed information to Year 9 parents.

The following arrangements apply for Parent Teacher Interviews:

Thursday 8 August

  • 8:40am to 12:40pm Period 1–4 classes as normal
  • 2:00pm to 5:30pm Parent‐Teacher Interviews
  • 5:30pm to 6:30pm Dinner break
  • 6:30pm to 8:30pm Parent‐Teacher Interviews

Please note that students in Years 7–8 and 10–12 will finish school at 12.40pm on this day.

Wednesday 14 August

  • 8:40am to 12:40pm Period 1–4 classes as normal
  • 2:00pm to 5:30pm Parent‐Teacher Interviews
  • 5:30pm to 6:30pm Dinner break
  • 6:30pm to 8:30pm Parent‐Teacher Interviews

Please note that students in Years 7–8 and 10–12 will finish school at 12.40pm on this day.

Students are required to attend with their parents in school uniform.  Interviews will be of 7 minutes in duration for all year levels.

Parents should have now received log‐in details for the internet‐based booking system; Parent Teacher On‐Line (PTO). 

For any difficulties in relation to bookings, please contact Mrs Angela Carlino at the College.

Mr Tom Ryan
Deputy Principal — Staff and Operations

2019 Winter Sleepout

Sleep a night under the stars to raise funds and awareness for the many people enduring homelessness by signing up to the annual St Edwin’s House Winter Sleepout at Kinnoull from 6:00pm Friday 16 August to 7:00am Saturday 17 August.

By sleeping outside and eating minimal food, students will create an authentic experience of discomfort for one evening. We will have a guest speaker from St Vincent de Paul and a twilight liturgy. Rug up! Bring a sleeping bag and warm clothes, and cardboard to sleep on.

Students from Years 10 to 12 are invited to participate (and younger students if they are interested). There is a $20 donation and all money goes to St Vinnies, along with the money from our Easter Raffle. Contact St Edwin’s House Coordinator Ms Jessica Stevenson for more information!

Ms Jessica Stevenson
St Edwin’s House Coordinator

Important Dates

Important upcoming dates in the College Calendar.

Music Tour Concludes
Year 8 Academic Assessment Services Testing
Year 10 Reflction Day - Syndal Baptist Church, Syndal, 8:30am - 2:45pm
Parent Network Committee Meeting - College Boardroom, 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Year 10 Subject Selection Assembly - SMT, 8:40am - 9:10am
College Tour - SMT, 9:00am - 11:15am
Year 12 VTAC Information Session - Gymnasium, 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Parent Teacher Interviews Years 7-8 and 10-12 - Gymnasium, 2:00pm - 8:30pm
Year 10 Shape Your Destiny Workshop - SMT, 9:50am - 11:50am
Year 10 Subject Selection Planning - Kinnoull Library, 1:50am - 12:40pm
National Science Week at De La Salle Commences - to 16 August
Parent Teacher Interviews Year 9 - Holy Eucharist Campus, 2:00pm - 8:30pm
Blokes and Books Breakfast with Morris Gleitzman - Gymnasium, 7:30am - 8:30am
Year 11 Subject Selection Assembly - SMT, 8:40am - 9:10am
Parent Teacher Interviews Years 7-8 and 10-12 - Gymnasium, 2:00pm - 8:30pm