Newsletter - Volume 4 - 22 March 2018

From The Principal: Chris Caldow

2019 Year 7 Enrolments

As I hope you are all aware, 2019 Year 7 Enrolments closed on Friday August 25 of last year.  We have had an additional 99 enrolments since the closing date. If there are any current families with children in Grade 6 who are intending to enrol them at Penola in 2019, I would ask that you make contact with Ms Jessica Alvarez at the College as soon as possible.  I would be saddened for one of our current families to miss out on a place due to the fact that they have not submitted an enrolment application.  I have asked Principals of our feeder Parish Primary Schools to check that all of their families who indicated that they were applying for a position at Penola have indeed applied.  I ask our current families to do the same as a matter of priority.

Long Service Leave

I am taking the first eight weeks of Term 2 off for long service leave and my wife and I are travelling through Eastern Europe.  This is the first time that I have accessed long service leave and I am looking forward to the break. Mr Ernie Pisani has been appointed as Acting Principal in my absence and I have total confidence that he will do a great job and that you will provide him with the same level of support as you have for me.  Ms Nicole Allan has been appointed as Deputy: Head of the Broadmeadows Campus and we welcome back from maternity leave, Ms Maria Alberto who takes on the role as Deputy Principal: Faith and Mission.

Language Tours to Italy and France and Art Tour to Italy

We have Language tours to France and Italy and our Art tour to Italy leaving on Wednesday March 28 and I thank Passport Travel, Ms Francesca Pascalis & Mrs Anna Favrin for all of their organisation. I also thank Mr Nicolas Sliwka, Ms Guissi Graziano, Ms Lucy D’Angelo, Mr Jason Hussey, Ms Hari Dimitriou and Ms Maree Farah for accompanying our students on these tours and providing such a wonderful opportunity for our students.  I will spend some time visiting our sister schools in both France and Italy whilst accompanying our students at various times throughout their tours. 

I know that our students will experience many wonderful things throughout their trip and may God’s blessings be with you on your travels.  I know that you will be fine ambassadors for Penola Catholic College throughout your travel. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

College Board

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

Board Chairperson                                                      Mrs Mary Anastasopoulos

Deputy Board Chairperson                                         Mrs Carmen Alongi

We have one new member on the 2018 College Board –Mrs Alfina Astuto (Honorary Financial Adviser. 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 Thien Vo, Mrs Evelyn Assaad, Mrs Jenny Vinten, Mr Chris Lang, Ms Vivien Miles, Mr Anthony Alizzi, Mrs Marija Cakarun, Mrs Alfina Astuto, Mrs Julie Lyons, Mr Stuart Harrison, Mrs Angela Xidias, Miss Alexandra Gilpin and Miss Jessica Repic.

Parish Primary Partnerships Session

Staff from Penola and our feeder Parish Primary schools celebrated together with a guest speaker, Mrs Leanne Brooke, General Manager of the Long Walk who spoke about the importance of aboriginal reconciliation and what we can do to improve things for our indigenous brothers and sisters. 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 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 16.  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.

Whole School Activity Days - Athletics Day Monday, March 26

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.  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.

There are some students and families that believe 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 one’s that they enjoy or want to do.  As a school, we will make contact with the students who are unexplained absences from the Athletics Carnival. 

Principal Review

The process for the review was that the panel looked at the survey responses as well as the interviews that they undertook with parents, students and staff and come up with a report that will contain both commendations and recommendations for areas of improvement.  Thanks to all involved in the process including staff who completed a survey and parents, students and staff who were involved with interviews a month ago. 

Overwhelmingly it was very positive with the main recommendations focusing upon ways to incorporate student voice into decision making, looking at ways of empowering other leaders within the College and looking at staff workload and morale.  My thanks to the panel members Fr Thien Vo, Chair of the Canonical Administrators, Mrs Trish Cowling, Panel Chair from Catholic Education Melbourne and Mr Matthew Byrne, Principal of Damascus College, Ballarat.



The Review Panel commends Chris for:

• Faith filled religious leadership and the authentic witness he gives to the Gospel.

• Willingness to speak openly of the importance of his Faith and his presentation as a strong role model

• The visibility of religious icons, crucifixes, prayer tables and other religious symbols and quotations throughout the College

• His inclusiveness and welcome to the multicultural community of families and their needs

• The clear focus on the links between the founding Charisms and the present reality along with Penola’s identity as an active Catholic community

• His articulation of the centrality of the Eucharist to the Catholic tradition in a way that is educative for staff and students


The Review Panel commends Chris for:

• His absolute commitment to student centred growth

• The school’s strong focus on improved standards and pedagogical practice

• The growth in recent years in NAPLAN and VCE outcomes

• Celebration of student achievement

• Focus on data analysis and utilization through UMNOS involvement

• Role modelling as an authentic instructional leader

• Commitment to the professional learning of staff

• The successful implementation of the CLIL program for students of Italian

• The wide range of curriculum and co-curricular offerings available for students and staff


The Review Panel commends Chris for:

• His commitment to providing a safe and nurturing community for all students

• His exemplary accessibility and personal pastoral care of students.

• His modelling of respectful relations with staff and students and emphasis upon Restorative Practices across the College

• His commitment to ensuring that the needs of all students are met, particularly those with language needs through the establishment of the Language Centre

• Giving an authentic voice to students through the leadership program

• The changes to Timetabling that have provided greater accessibility to a wide range of subjects and levels at Years 10-12


The Review Panel commends Chris for:

• His strong and decisive leadership

• His professional and people-centred leadership approach

• His relentless commitment to a much needed ongoing change agenda

• His highly effective organisational ability

• His role modelling of a strong work ethic and pursuit of excellence across the College

• His articulation of the vision of the school and the translation of this vision into reality.

• His astute management of finance and resources


The Review Panel commends Chris for:

• His positive relations with parents and focus on strengthening family engagement in student learning

• His presence at community events and effective communication, verbal and written with the parent body

• His advocacy of Penola in the broader community and efforts to raise both the profile and the reputation of the College

• his support for the parent community of the College, particularly those experiencing hardship



The Review Panel commends Chris for:

• An effective and robust working relationship with the College Board, particularly the current Board Chairperson

• The close working relationship with the Business Manager, and his support for the Business Manager in her role.

• Raising the profile of the College Board to staff and parents

• The high level of care, attention and detail given to the overall planning and management of finances, property, buildings, grounds development and resources




The Review Panel recommends that Chris:

• Continue the development of Penola College as a strong faith community

• Continue to promote the Catholic identity of the College, and the professional learning of staff in the area of faith and Catholic identity

• Continue to articulate the links between meeting the community at its point of need and its Catholic identity, e.g. promoting the Language Centre to staff as a legitimate response to community needs, outreach to the community and expression of Christian identity

• Explore ways in which the College can establish closer links with parish feeder schools, and connect students with their parishes

• Work with the local parish communities to enhance student connectedness to faith development activities

• Continue to ensure the relevance, engagement and strong status of the RE program at the College


The Review Panel recommends that Chris:

• Continue to lead Penola unapologetically on its school improvement and effectiveness agenda

• Continue to foster high academic achievement, using contemporary research and data to inform best and next practice

• Develop the capacity of Senior and Middle level leaders to step up as change agents, communicators and decision-makers – so that this becomes the Penola Agenda rather than Chris’s Agenda

• Encourage the involvement of student voice in matters pertaining to learning and teaching to continue to develop optimal growth – for example the students perspective on improving the Head Start program

• Clearly and regularly articulate his big picture vision of teaching and learning to the school community

• Continue to develop online resources to enable the College to provide a contemporary approach to learning and teaching


The Review Panel recommends that Chris:

• Further extend the opportunities for “student voice”, specifically around the Pastoral Care program

• Continue the exploration of flexible timetabling for students at Years 7-9

• Continue to develop the principle that all staff have responsibility for the wellbeing of students and the expectation of high standards of behaviour

• Explore ways in which the College can continue to develop the interconnectedness between students’ well-being and learning and teaching

• Continue to ensure that all pastoral policies and practices are consistently implemented

• Clarify the place of leadership of restorative practices as a framework for student growth and support


The Review Panel recommends that Chris:

• Look to ways to develop the capacity and leadership skills of his senior and middle leaders so as to strengthen the distributive leadership model

• Continue to hold leaders accountable for including staff in decision-making so that consultation can be authentic and staff input valued. 

• Explore (and introduce) mechanisms for formally recognising and affirming the contributions of staff across the College

• Continue to ensure that his expectations for high quality performance of all staff are maintained

• Continue to focus on fostering a professional culture by developing the leadership capacity of all staff

• Develop a way in which all leaders can be seen to be listening – actively and often, with a view to giving credence to the ideas and opinions of others

• Provide further clarity regarding the new Human Resource Management function within the College to assist staff and leadership in optimising the performance and wellbeing of the staff team

• Develop an approach to his role that ensures that he is able to maintain and sustain his high quality leadership in the long term.


The Review Panel recommends that Chris:

• Continue to advocate for Penola in the Parish primary schools promoting the facilities and resource provision of the College to parish primary Principals and staff

• Continue to monitor the parent response to online reporting and assessment and use of the learning management system to ensure that no families are left behind through lack of access

• Consider opening the library even later to enable older students access to the WIFI and resources for study purposes

• Provide ongoing opportunities for parent forums to seek feedback and engagement


The Review Panel recommends that Chris:

• Continue to look to ways that will engage the Canonical Administrators in the life of the College

• Continue to develop the capacity of the Board to ensure that there is a strong, strategic approach to governance of the College into the future.

• Continue to utilize the skills and expertise of the Board and the local Parishes in achieving the vision and mission of the College in the education of young women and men


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 be 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 Partnerships Meetings and other school events.

I have been pleased with the numbers of parents that have attended our initial Parent, Teacher, Student Partnerships Meetings.  The purpose of these interviews is for staff to find out from parents 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 states 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. 

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. Our sister school from France, St Jean Baptiste de la Salle, Avignon is visiting from Thursday 16th to Thursday 30th March.  A number of our families will host 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 Vol. 2

From the Deputy Principal: Head of Senior Campus Ernie Pisani Vol. 4

Dear parents, As Term 1 comes to a close we can well reflect on the achievements of the past two months. The calendar has been full with exciting things which truly reflect the holist nature of the educational experience at Penola. These experiences continue over the next few days and into Term 2. The House Athletics Carnival is due to …

Read more.


Easter Egg Collection!

Dear parents and guardians,

This year we are collecting Easter eggs for St. Vincent De Pauls. All Easter eggs donated to the school will be given to the St. Vinnies charity. Staff at St. Vincent De Paul, will then distribute them to children in the community who will not be given the opportunity to celebrate Easter with a special treat.  The collection will take place from the 5th March – 23rd March. All eggs can be left at the Broadmeadows campus office situated in Kerrsland. Our aim is at least one Easter egg to be donated by each student at Penola Catholic College. Though, not only Easter eggs can be donated, we will also accept Easter activity books and Easter themed reading books which will develop educational skills to children in our community.

Thank you in advance for your kind generosity.

Wishing you and your families a happy, safe and blessed Easter.
Soula Argyropoulos


Don't forget to sign up to Flexischools!

Flexischools system allows students to pay at the canteen using their existing student card.
Parents can set daily limits and view transactions online.

Click here!


Penola Sport Facebook Page 


Please click the link to view the Fees, Levies and Charges Credit Card Agreement


2018 Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund (CSEF) Changes

The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) performed a review of the 2017 Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund (CSEF) payment and application process with a view of simplifying the process for 2018. Changes include:

• The requirement for parents / legal guardians to complete and submit a new application form each year has been removed. This change has been made to simplify the application process for parents / legal guardians and reduce the administrative workload for schools

• Parents / guardians who received the CSEF payment in 2017 at Penola Catholic College will not be required to submit a new application form in 2018 (or subsequent years)

• The automatic Centrelink validation process will verify CSEF eligibility by confirming if the parent / guardian holds a valid concession card

• A CSEF form will only be required to be completed if:

• new students are to enrol at Penola Catholic College (includes students in Year 7 2018)

• parents / guardians applying for CSEF for the first time.


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 (29 January 2018) or term two (16 April 2018).

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 2018 Application Form



Second Hand Uniform Sales 

Fortnightly Tuesdays, Broadmeadows Campus

8.45am - 10.30am

Term One: Feb 6, Feb 20, Mar 6, Mar 20
Term Two: Apr 17, May 1, May 15, May 29, Jun 19
Term Three: Jul 17, Jul 31, Aug 14, Aug 28, Sept 11
Term Four: Oct 9, Oct 23, Nov 13, Nov 27

If you wish to sell your freshly dry cleaned second hand uniform items (new logo/uniform), you can do so by leaving them at Reception at the Broadmeadows Campus. Blue blazers with the old logo will also be accepted. All items must show they have been dry cleaned by having the dry cleaning tag attached. 


Interested in selling your uniform?

If you are interested in selling your clothing please have them dry cleaned and handed in to Reception.
All items must contain the NEW College logo. 
The College will also accept NEW logo items as donations for struggling families.


Academy Uniforms 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 3:00 - 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