From the Principal
This week I write in relation to several major community events but of most importance is the restructure of our pastoral system for 2016, on which I will elaborate below. I am drafting a more comprehensive letter to the community which should go out to you all next week but I will provide an outline here.
The restructure of our pastoral care/student wellbeing system is an exciting, progressive and beneficial innovation for the College. The new system largely revolves around the reinstatement of the House system which has been present in the school in various forms on and off for decades. As an initial step in 2015 we have allocated all students and staff a House and the three major sports carnivals are running on that basis. This was a huge success at our March House Athletics Carnival.
Over 12 months ago I asked John McAlroy, Head of Tiverton Campus, to undertake a review of our pastoral system and present recommendations for the Executive Team — and ultimately me — to consider. I am very grateful to all those on the committee, including staff, parents and students, who gave up so much time and committed so much effort to the review process.
The key recommendations which I have approved and are being put into place for 2016 are outlined below.
A well-planned and executed methodology was adopted. The team investigated our existing systems and developed a set of new guidelines within De La Salle College. The committee members participated in meetings, school visits, staff consultation (staff meetings) and a student survey to provide a solid basis for a series of recommendations. The whole system of pastoral care has been redefined, reorganised and given greater clarity for all. This provides clear guidelines, rationale and a contemporary model which best promotes our students’ wellbeing.
In Years 10 – 12 at Kinnoull we will move to a House-based ‘vertical’ pastoral care system, with students in Homerooms – or Pastoral Groups – of approximately 25, comprising a combination of Year 10, 11 and 12 students; six groups per House. This is a model I am familiar with and have worked with in my past two schools; it is widely used at other Catholic boys’ schools to great acclaim from students, staff and parents.
The key benefit of this system is the sense of family, unity, cohesion and belonging derived by the boys. There is continuity of contact and relationship — that critical and significant relationship — as the Homeroom teacher or Pastoral Leader remains with the boys from Year 10 through to graduation. It is well researched and well documented that boys’ resilience, their sense of belonging and security is enhanced via this constant in their school life; the presence of a significant adult who knows them very well. When we create and work within structures which enhance students’ engagement and connectedness we produce happier, more successful young men.
The vertical system combining Year 10 – 12 students provides a raft of advantages. Of major benefit is the fostering of inter-year level relationships. It certainly assists with the Year 10 students’ transition from Tiverton to Kinnoull, whereby Years 11 — 12 students can act as mentors. This is also another leadership opportunity for the senior boys as every day they present as role models, peer mentors and build relationships with others, both older and younger. The sense of family and belonging become palpable as our young men will come to identify closely with not only their Homeroom/Pastoral Group but their House in particular. Knowing they are known, valued, being regularly acknowledged and affirmed in that three year relationship results in improved outcomes for the young men in the House vertical pastoral care system.
Years 7 – 9 at Tiverton will remain in a horizontal structure for the time being, largely due to the structural constraints of classrooms, buildings and geography on the junior campus which prohibits the ideal situation of each House having a ‘home’ area on the campus. We hope to address this in future redevelopments. The House system will still be introduced and grown at Tiverton, but the pastoral system won’t be based around it for 2016.
Other key features of the 2016 system include a dedicated, timetabled Personal Development lesson each week for Years 7 – 12 to facilitate the range of wellbeing and practical issues requiring attention. The notion of effective transition and improvements in the structured support for incoming Year 7 students, for the Year 10 students moving across to Kinnoull, and for any students enrolling in the College outside the traditional entry points of Year 4 and Year 7, is also being addressed.
I am very keen to promote leadership opportunities for all our students, as per our slogan “Learn. Live. Lead.” The House system from Years 4 – 12 provides a raft of leadership roles, both formal and informal, for students of all ages on both campuses in the Houses, sport, the Arts, Lasallian formation – social justice and liturgy – and at the class level.
Responding to student feedback from surveys last year there will also be an Activities Coordinator appointed to run events at lunchtimes, largely House based and mostly at Tiverton for the junior students, in areas such as sport, music, drama, chess and similar themes.
As mentioned above, I will write to families with more details but this provides a snapshot of some exciting innovations for 2016, with the express and unambiguous goal of students being the winners with increased support, mentoring, activities and leadership opportunities.
Community Mass – Sunday 13 September
On Sunday 13 September the College is holding our Term 3 Community Mass at St Roch’s, Burke Road, Glen Iris. Mass is at 9:00am. All in our community, including Old Collegians, are welcome to attend and those current students who have come to us from St Roch’s have received a written invitation to attend, with several participating in the Mass as readers and in the offertory. We are now beginning planning for the Term 4 Mass, so if your parish would like to be involved I’d be happy to hear from you.
Father’s Day Breakfast
Next Wednesday 26 August is our second annual Father’s Day Breakfast, run by the Parent Network. With hundreds of tickets already sold this promises to be another great community event and an opportunity for dads and sons to spend some time together over a meal with friends and listen to Darren Crocker, our guest speaker for the morning.
Parent Network Race Day a huge success
Last Saturday nearly 140 parents and friends attended the Parent Network De La Salle Day at the Races at Caulfield. This was an increase in attendance from 2014 of well over 50% and the large crowd had a wonderful day.
Fashion parades, guest speakers, a comedian MC, raffles, beautiful food and a good deal of conviviality made it a great event for all concerned. Thank you to our Co-Presidents Cate Robertson and Louisa Salmon in particular, plus all their hard working assistants who did so much to ensure the day’s success. See all the photos here.
DLS Old Collegians’ Amateur Football Club 60th Anniversary
Moving almost straight from the races to Federation Square, I was thrilled to attend the 60th Anniversary Dinner for the De La Salle Old Collegians’ Football Club. Over 370 past and present associates went along to the superb Zinc function centre overlooking the Yarra and were treated to a simply tremendous celebration of all that is great about suburban footy clubs, and our College’s club in particular.
Hosted by Old Collegian and SEN 1116 personality Jason Richard, the Team of the 60 Years and Team of the Decade 2005 -14 were announced. Non-playing staff and assistants were duly honoured, which was a nice touch as no club can survive without them. We also had five players past and present speak from the heart about what their school and their footy club meant to them. Congratulations to Mick Hegan, Stephen Hoy and their helpers for a great production.
We welcome two new arrivals to the De La Salle Community.
Chris Church and his wife Erin welcomed their first child last Friday evening, a baby boy, Patrick Maurice.
Adrian Violi and his wife Kylie had a baby girl last Monday. Olivia Rose, a little sister to Aalyia and Sophia.
Congratulations to all!
Mr Peter Houlihan