Newsletter - Volume 4 - 23rd March 2017

From The Principal: Chris Caldow

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Zero tolerance of Student Misbehaviour

In this week’s media, particularly newspapers, there were a range of comments outlining recent research indicating that student misbehaviour was highest in Australia’s worst performing schools.  Whilst this does not come as a significant surprise, the next statistic was trying to link this to the socio-economic status of the school.  


Parental Engagement

Driving to work the other morning I heard a report on the radio which talked about the link between the education levels of parents and their children’s NAPLAN success rates.  Simply put, the higher the level of parent’s education the more likely the student was to succeed compared to other families.  I believe we need to be very careful when considering research such as this as there is a danger that we can accept these findings without question and it becomes a self-fulfilling idea.  That is, students cannot change their level of performance and it is all pre-ordained according to genetics, postcode and income levels.  In my experience in education, I have met many outstanding students who come from families with a variety of levels of education who succeed extraordinarily well.

Fortunately, the researcher went on to say that what they do next is to see what these so called ‘successful families’ do to support their children’s education. I believe that there are strategies and approaches that consistently benefit students when instituted at home on a regular basis.  As parents, you should have been able to access your child’s / children’s reports online.  One of the key ways that you can support your son or daughter’s education is by taking a genuine interest in what they are doing at school.  Ways that you can show that you are interested is by asking how their day was at school or through your attendance at Parent/Teacher/Student interviews and other school events.

I have been pleased with the numbers of parents that have attended our initial Parent/Teacher/Student interviews.  The purpose of these interviews is for staff to find out from parent’s information about your son or daughter, to meet with your child’s subject teachers and for teachers to give feedback about their performance to date.  Many of you will have noted a change in practice with our progress reports in terms of when they are available and whether interviews have been requested.  We have sent personal invitations to every family as we are seeking to promote two-way communication between the school and our families.

One of the most important study habits a student can institute is ensuring study times are regular and immoveable unless there is a remarkable reason to make a change.  Times can be sorted around sporting or musical commitments, part-time work or even favourite television programs but once they have been sorted out it should be as regular as brushing your teeth in the morning.  If there is no homework then some school work such as revision, additional maths or reading a novel should be done instead.  There are always a certain number of students who will cram their class work so that they can come home to announce that they don’t have any homework!  Having an unconditional homework time can encourage students to expand and develop their work further.

Secondly, usually the best place for homework is in a public place in the house.  Especially where adults are quietly doing other things around them, and are touching base with how they are going.  For both of my children this place is on our kitchen table!  Some students find doing homework locked away in a bedroom so crushingly boring that they either don’t get on with anything or they are constantly tempted by distractions such as Facebook, computer games or even just surfing the net!  The other advantage with this suggestion is that there is considerable research around that says that when parent’s take an interest in the child’s school work, this improves the attitude of their child to everything associated with schooling which improves learning. What is also critical is that the homework is done earlier in the evening rather than late at night.

All students struggle with motivation at various stages and one of the things that we can assist with as parents is reminding our children that nearly every form of success that we have achieved has been as a result of hard work and lots of it!  Some students need assistance with their organisation to ensure that they start tasks early enough to be able to complete their best work rather than in a huge rush just before it is due.  Others simply need help in planning and recording what tasks they need to complete and prioritising this work.  Despite what your children may believe, you know them better than anyone else so you will know the areas where they need support and ways that you can help. 

College Board

The first meeting for the new College Board was conducted last Wednesday night where the following positions were determined:

Board Chairperson                                                      Mrs Mary Anastasopoulos

Deputy Board Chairperson                                         Mrs Carmen Alongi

We have four new members on the 2017 College Board – Mr Anthony Alizzi (Parents and Friends representative), Mrs Lesley Atkinson (Honorary Financial Adviser), Mrs Julie Lyons (Co-opted Board member) and Mr Chris Lang (Parent Representative). I thank these people for taking on these important roles and for their support of me and the College.  I would also like to thank our other College Board members for their ongoing contribution to our school: Fr Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, Mrs Sue Delaney, Mrs Jenny Vinten, Mrs Vivien Miles, Mrs Marija Cakarun, Mr Stuart Harrison, Mrs Angela Xidias, Mr Stavro Marogi and Miss Darina Carvalho.

Parish Primary Partnerships Staff Wellbeing Session

Staff from Penola and our feeder Parish Primary schools celebrated together last Tuesday with a guest speaker, Mr Mark Bunn who spoke about the importance of personal wellbeing for all staff involved in Catholic schools.  He gave a range of practical strategies about ways to improve our personal wellbeing and was both entertaining and informative. The purpose of this day was to meet the staff from our feeder Parish Primary schools and to foster greater links between the staff from each of the respective schools. My thanks to those involved with the organisation of the afternoon particularly Sr Rita Malavisi, Fr Tony Cox, Ms Nicole Allan and Ms Melissa Fry.  My thanks to the Principals of our feeder Parish Primary schools and their staff for finding time in their busy schedules to attend the afternoon.

St Patrick’s Day Mass

I attended the St Patrick’s Day mass along with a range of our student leaders at St Patrick’s Cathedral at the Catholic Education Week Opening Mass on Friday March 17.  Our VET Community Recreation students were asked to organise tabloid sports activities for the Primary School students after the Mass. Both events were very successful and you get a sense of how many students are educated in Catholic schools across the Melbourne Diocese with more than 3000 people attending the mass.

Year 12 Retreats

Year 12 students participate in their retreats this week from Wednesday 22nd to Friday 24th March.  Students and staff will travel to five camp sites on the eastern fringes of the city.  The programme involves reflection and discussion on key relationships and faith.  For many it is the highlight of the Year 12 programme and for some it can be quite life changing.  My thanks to the staff involved in this program and my best wishes to our Year 12 students.

Whole School Activity Days - Athletics Day Friday March 31

I would like to take the time to outline our expectations with regards to these events.  When students and families sign up for a place at Penola Catholic College they agree to the whole package and do not get to choose which parts of the package they will participate in.  Some students and families believe that the Athletics Carnival is not a valuable activity and may condone the absence of their son(s) or daughter(s) from the Athletics Carnival.  This is most concerning to me as I believe that students should be involved with all aspects of College life, not just the ones that they enjoy or want to do.  Attendance is compulsory at all whole school functions including the Athletics Carnival.  If your son or daughter is going to be absent on any of these days could you please ask them to come and see me!  There will be follow-up of all absences on this day.

LOTE Homestay visits from Japan and France

Our sister school from Japan, Dokkyo Saitama High School, is visiting from Thursday 16th to Friday 24th March and our sister school from France, St Jean Baptiste de la Salle, Avignon from Thursday 16th to Thursday 30th March.  A number of our families are hosting these students throughout this time. I would like to publically thank each of the families who have volunteered to host a student from either Japan or France.  Without your generosity these programs would not be able to take place which would be a total shame given the benefits for both the host student, our students and their families.  The homestay experience is designed so that our sister school students get a taste of life in an Australian family and the Australian culture.


As we continue with the fourth week of Lent a lot of people consider what to give up.  The following reflection was in my local church bulletin at St Monica’s Moonee Ponds which I offer to you:

What to give up

Give up complaining -             focus on Gratitude

Give up pessimism -               become an Optimist

Give up worry -                       trust Divine Providence

Give up bitterness -                turn to Forgiveness

Give up hatred -                      return Good for evil

Give up negativism -               be Positive

Give up anger -                       be More Patient

Give up pettiness -                  become Mature

Give up gloom -                      enjoy the Beauty all around you

Give up jealousy -                   pray for Trust

Give up gossiping -                 control you Tongue

Give up sin -                            turn to Vitue

Give up giving up -                  Hang in there!

As Lent draws to a close we look for hope in the Resurrection of Christ our Saviour and Redeemer. Through His sacrifice he has made possible our salvation from sin. Jesus tells us that He is the way to the Father. Let us take time in this Easter season to reflect on our own lives and invite the Risen Lord’s companionship on our life’s journey towards our Eternal home. 

As the term draws to a close I thank all for their ongoing support of the College and I wish all a Happy and Holy Easter.

I encourage all families to participate in the 3 days of Easter ceremonies in their Parishes providing time for reflection and prayer. 

From the Deputy Principal: Head of Senior Campus Ernie Pisani

From the Deputy Principal: Head of Senior Campus Ernie Pisani

The opportunities for personal development through experiential learning are promoted heavily at Penola Catholic College. The Year 9 camp which took place recently was a grand success and offered students great opportunities to develop skills and trial independent living away from the comforts of home. Students who completed the Survivor Camp were exceptional in their endeavors and, no doubt, benefited …

Read more.

From the Deputy Principal: Head of Junior Campus Stuart Harrison

From the Deputy Principal: Head of Junior Campus Stuart Harrison

Dear Staff,

Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews. Last Thursdays Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews, were well attended by our 7 & 8 parents who got to meet and greet their child’s teachers.  It was also the first time that students discussed their goals for this year with their parents.  Having parents involved in their child’s education is a key for a student’s success at school and …

Read more.

From the Deputy Principal: Faith and Mission Nicole Allan

From the Deputy Principal: Faith and Mission Nicole Allan

From the Faith and Mission Team

Wisdom from our Chaplain, Fr. Tony Cox. When we look at the accounts of Jesus’ passion and death we see that what the Gospel writers highlight is not Jesus’ physical suffering, but his emotional anguish. What’s emphasised instead is that Jesus was alone, abandoned, betrayed, morally lonely, hung out to dry. What Jesus suffers …

Read more.

Staff allocation for Parent Teacher Student Interviews

Please click on the link below to view staff allocation for Parent Teacher conferences. 

PTSI - Staff Allocation




The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Victoria) is a non-government, community based charity that works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. RSPCA Victoria was established in Melbourne in 1871.

On the 27th February, Year 12 VCAL students were given the opportunity to take part in an all day excursion to the RSPCA in Burwood East. At the start of the day, VCAL students were divided into groups and took part in several interesting workshops. In one workshop, students learnt how to make safe toys for animals. They then went on a tour of the facilities to learn about the process of animal adoption. For some students it was their first experience of patting and feeding a farm animal. The last tour had our students focusing on rescued animals and how they are housed and looked after by the RSPCA.

At a general group workshop, students addressed a number of issues, including RSPCA funding, creating empathy in the community, saving animals and fighting cruelty. Students were presented with several ethical scenarios that they had to discuss, collaborate on, resolve and evaluate.

The excursion provided valuable curriculum support to the VCAL Literacy program as well as part of the Personal Development Skills program on Volunteerism.

The work of the RSPCA is extremely important in preventing cruelty to animals and helping them lead better lives. The RSPCA runs several programs for the community such as Kinder Kids where young children are involved in the nurturing and care of pets to develop a love for all living things. The Animal Career Discovery Day provides students with information on careers in animal care such as Vet nurses, Behaviourists, Inspectors, Animal Attendants and Adoption Officers.

The RSPCA, in partnership with the Box Hill Institute, also offers the Certificate II in Animal Studies which is an entry level qualification for people aspiring to work in the animal care industry.

If you wish to learn more about how you can get involved, call 1300 777 221, email fundraising@rspcavic.org.au or visit rspca.org

On behalf of Penola Catholic College, I would like to acknowledge and thank the dedicated RSPCA staff that provided our VCAL students and staff with such a valuable insight into Australia’s leading organisation in animal welfare.

By Mr Pascal Roulant


Sustainability @ Penola

Under the glorious autumn sunshine, the Environmental Action Team ran the first wetlands protection session for the year. Gareth Henderson taught the team all about the invasive weed species that are taking over the home of many native and indigenous plant and animal species. We quickly filled three large bins with weeds but there’s still plenty of work to do. We are busy planning future working bee activities and invite all staff and students, from the green thumbs to the newbies, to join us for our next session to help protect and maintain this important area of the College

Ashlee Milich

Captain of Sustainability


New 2017 Lenovo student laptops

In recent weeks a number of students have alerted the ICT Helpdesk to an issue with battery life on the student laptops issued for 2017. As a first step in dealing with this issue, Year 10 students were sent an email asking them to reply if they were experiencing poor battery performance on their new laptop. All students who responded have now had the serial number of their laptop sent to Lenovo.

It is hopeful that Lenovo will respond to this promptly. Once we have an estimated time for delivery of the replacement batteries, students will be notified to bring their laptop to the ICT Helpdesk to have it fitted.


MyPenola – Notifications:

The main purpose of the notifications system for parents is to ensure that you are aware of information in regard to your child’s learning progress and imported school related information.  These notifications which are delivered via email or in the notification centre on MyPenola are automatically generated based on information that is entered into the system.  Due to a number of concerns regarding notifications, we have reviewed and changed the Global notification settings for parents.  Following is a list the notification that you will receive from now on.

You will receive an email and message in the notification centre when:

• a teacher marks your child's work.

• your child has pending work that is overdue

• somebody comments on your child's grades.

You will receive only a message in the notification centre when:

• a submission box in your child's class is updated.

• your child failed to attempt a quiz.

• a teacher marks your child's attempt of a quiz.

• somebody posts school news.

• somebody posts homepage news.

• an event on your calendar is updated.

• a new pastoral record has been created.

• an existing pastoral record has been updated.

Whilst we have modified the notifications, you have the ability to further modify some of the notification settings.


Attention:  Year 10, 11 and 12 Students and Parents,


Registrations for the first Experience La Trobe event at our Melbourne campus in Bundoora are now open!

Set to take place on Friday 7 April, the event gives students and their parents the chance to immerse themselves in La Trobe life. There are over 60 dynamic workshops available in a broad range of study areas, introducing students to real academics and classroom environments.

With campus tours, free catering, prizes and entertainment all part of the day, Experience La Trobe is an event that should not be missed.

Students and parents are encouraged to register online to choose their sessions before they fill up.


Indigenous students Aspire PROGRAM AT La Trobe UNIVERSITY

We're thrilled to share that I-Aspire, a new program designed to empower Indigenous high school students across Victoria to qualify for La Trobe's Aspire Early Admissions program, has been announced.

For the first time this year 100 Indigenous students have enrolled to study at La Trobe and in 2016 we increased our number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics to seven (a six-fold increase). There is however, much to do. Indigenous students are one of the most under represented cohorts in higher education and exclusion from education is one of the biggest contributors to that.

As such, we've set the goal of recruiting 50 young Indigenous people from across suburban Melbourne and regional Victoria each year.

I-Aspire will work as a pathway program, including:

• An academic boot camp to help Indigenous students learn about University life

• A Cultural Immersion Program with community Elders to provide support and cultural direction for students

• One-on-one mentoring with senior peers

The Aspire program was set up four years ago to recognise and reward students who have demonstrated community service and leadership with an early offer at La Trobe. The program has been remarkably successful - since 2014, the University has made over 4,500 early offers to Aspire students.

For more information about Indigenous Strategy and education at La Trobe, head to our website.


Penola Sport Facebook Page 




Forms can be filled out NOW for 2017 providing your card is eligible

CSEF eligibility DATES

For concession card holders CSEF eligibility will be subject to the parent/legal guardian’s concession card being successfully validated with Centrelink on the first day of either term one (30 January 2017) or term two (18 April 2017).

CSEF Applications forms can be collected either:

• Accounts Office (Broadmeadows Campus)

• Glenroy Campus Office

• Attached to this newsletter

• www.education.vic.gov.au/csef

• Emailed to dgaetano@penola.vic.edu.au

CSEF Flyer

CSEF 2017 Application Form


Please note: The second hand uniform shop is no longer accepting maroon blazers due to an excess amount already in stock. They are still accepting the blue blazers, dry cleaned with the receipt attached.


Second Hand Uniform Sales 

Fortnightly Tuesdays, Broadmeadows Campus

8.45am - 10.30am

Term One: Feb 7, Feb 21, Mar 7, Mar 21
Term Two: Apr 18, May 2, May 16, May 30, Jun 13, Jun 27
Term Three: Jul 18, Aug 1, Aug 15, Aug 29, Sept 12
Term Four: Oct 10, Oct 24, Nov 14, Nov 28

Anybody who wishes to sell their freshly dry cleaned second hand uniform items, can do so by leaving them at Reception.  A small fee will be charged for postage and handling. All items must show they have been dry cleaned by having dry cleaning tag attached. 


Academy Uniforms also run a school shop service at Broadmeadows Campus in the current second hand uniform area in the Mannes building on:

Wednesday mornings from 8:00 - 9:30am
Thursday afternoons from 2:30 - 4:00pm


Academy Uniforms are now ON-LINE
Simply go to: Academy Uniforms
Choose Penola Catholic College and enter password Broadmeadows
Orders can be sent to the School Shop or home address.


Academy Uniforms
238 Wolseley Place,
Ph: 9460 8011


Penola Catholic College

Junior Campus: 35 William Street, Glenroy, VIC 3046
Senior Campus: 29 Gibson Street, Broadmeadows, VIC 3047

Postal Address:
PO Box 637, Glenroy, VIC

Telephone:(03) 9301-2777
Fax:(03) 9301-2770