Newsletter - Volume 11 - 25 July 2019

From The Principal: Chris Caldow


Term 3 Welcome

The term has begun and both the students and staff appear to be happy to be back at school. I hope that the holiday period was relaxing and that you were able to spend some quality time together as a family. In particular, I would like to welcome a number of new students and their families: Zhang Xuan Year 7, Paul Hakim Year 7, Darcy Pearson Year 8, Reem Baza Year 9 and Yazen Daoud Year 10.  We hope that your time with us is both productive and rewarding.

This is an important term in terms of consolidating the work of first semester and using the time wisely. This is particularly true of students undertaking Unit 4 subjects as the end of year exams will be upon them before they know it. In preparation for these exams the College conducts trial exams during the second week of the Term 3 holiday period.  These exams will take place on Monday, 30 September, Tuesday, 1 October, Wednesday, 2 October and Thursday, 3 October. These exams are considered compulsory as they provide the best possible preparation prior to the VCAA exams in late October and November.

The College will also lead students in Years 8, 9 & 10 through the process of subject selection and an important information evening was conducted on Tuesday, 30 July. Later in the term we will go through the process of electing student leaders for the 2020 school year, another important aspect of third term.

I had the good fortune to attend the bi-annual CaSPA (Catholic association of Secondary Principals Australia) Conference in Cairns at the beginning of last week.  The Keynote speakers were fantastic ranging from Kristina Keneally (former NSW premier), Fr Frank Brennan (Jesuit priest, Lawyer and author of a number of articles in Eureka Street) to Nicholas Wyman (CEO of Skilling Australia Foundation).  There were also a number of workshops and I had the opportunity to visit our newest AJASS School, Mary MacKillop College in Cairns.  One of my former principals whom I worked with in Swan Hill, Mr Michael Kenny was recognised for his 25 years of service as a Principal in Catholic Schools.  He is currently Principal of Marymede Catholic College in South Morang.

Staff Changes

A particularly warm welcome to new staff members:

Welcome back to Trish Franzoni, Carli Saddington, Josie Carr, Maria Krysinski, Hannah Blizzard, Ernie Pisani and Jenny Carroll after periods of leave. 

Thanks to Erin Bonavia for her work as Acting Deputy Principal of the Glenroy Campus for Term 2 and to Stuart Harrison for his work replacing Ernie for Term 2 as Head of the Broadmeadows Campus.

Lack of Homework and Student Work Ethic

At our most recent Broadmeadows Campus Assembly I spoke with our Years 9-12 students about their lack of homework and study.  I have included some of my speech below as I believe it is an important topic that needs to be discussed in all of the homes of our students. I have also included the results below taken from the student surveys distributed to get feedback from students about their teachers.  One of the questions asked how much homework they complete each night.  Given that there is a thing called social desirability bias which means that people over report their positive behaviours and under report their negative behaviours the numbers of students completing little or no homework is probably higher than listed here!

Amount of Homework Results

I wanted to speak to you today about something that has been troubling me for a while. Today we have to have a difficult conversation about what I think is the elephant in the room. Whilst I am not talking to everyone in the audience it is significant enough that I believe that it needs to be heard by all of you. I have been working with staff for the past 6 years about improving their teaching practice and I believe that we have been relatively successful in this area.  So if our teaching has improved then why haven’t our student results.

I am concerned with the lack of work ethic and effort with your school work as evidenced by your responses to the question on the student feedback surveys which asked “On average how much homework do you complete each night?” 15% stated that they do no homework and a further 28% said less than 30 minutes.  This means that in a class of 25 students on average 4 students are doing no homework and a further 7 students are doing less than 30 minutes.

Breaking it down even further we can see that over half of our Year 9 students do less than 30 minutes of homework per night. At Years 10, 11 & 12 it improves slightly but we still have more than 40% of students doing less than 30 minutes of home work per night.  Our data, year after year, when students enter Year 7 here at Penola, 55% of students are at least a year or more behind in their academic performance in literacy and numeracy as measured by NAPLAN. 20% of students are performing at the expected level and 25% are a year or more above the expected level.

Realistically, the only way that you can catch up is to work harder than all of the other students in the State.  They have already shown up until that point that they may have more advantages in these academic areas and if I fail to do as much as these students then I am only going to fall further behind. What really disappoints me is that if you are one of the students who isn’t completing regular homework and study then you are selling your family short in terms of sending their sons or daughters to what they consider to be a good school.  What is even more disappointing is that you are selling yourself short.  It is better to have tried and failed than to not try at all.

This is my sixth year here at Penola, and if I am quite honest, I haven’t seen the improvement that I have been hoping for. I desperately want our student outcomes to improve whether this is measured by our VCE median study score which has been 28, 28, 28 ,29, and 27 in the past 5 years.  It may be measured by the average ATAR score of our Year 12 students which has been 55.75, 54.71, 57.23, 59.94 and 55.27. It may also be measured by the numbers of students who gain full time employment directly after Year 12.

In speaking with a number of you, the vast majority are aspirational i.e. you want to do good or even great things in your life.  You want to find a partner, someone who recognizes and loves the truest version of yourself.  You also want to find a meaningful job or career that gives you a sense of purpose and provides enough income to do the things that you want both now and into the future.  Some of you want to buy a car, raise a family, and buy a house for your family in the future. But without action this is nothing other than fanciful dreams.

I am a firm believer that this is true, particularly in schools. I believe that the combined efforts of us all, adds up to something greater than what we can produce if we were all working individually. 

Let’s think about this from an academic point of view. Our fine young adults in Year 12 have 56 school days left!  The time for them is now!  But this is true for all of you.  The sooner you increase your effort, the sooner we get to see improvements in our individual progress.

In a school setting we all need to work together to be our best. Respect is critical. Relationships are paramount as we all need the support of others to achieve our best. So in thinking about all of this it brings us back to what is our vision. Our vision is one where we strive to provide a holistic education which meets the needs and develops the gifts of each student. One of the things that I think about is, what is it that I want for the students at Penola Catholic College. I want the same things as many of your parents and the same things that I want for my own son and daughter. That is that you lead happy, healthy and productive lives.

I know that in our environment we spend a lot of time recognising the achievements of many different students in a whole range of different fields. But I wonder whether we spend enough time acknowledging the efforts of the students that do the best that they possibly can nearly all the time. We need to focus upon getting the best out of every student and working together to achieve the most that we possibly can.

It is not all gloom and doom and something that can be easily turned around if you want to.  In fact, later in the assembly we will be recognizing some of our highest achievers who are doing their best and putting the effort in.  I think each of these award recipients would tell you that it takes concerted effort to achieve the grades that they are.  Nothing comes easy!

 The term ahead

As ever we have our ongoing teaching and learning- our core business. Term 3 means planning for 2020: subject selection, information evenings, Year 9 interviews, determining staff intentions for 2020, staff reviews and School Improvement Framework Surveys. I thank you in anticipation for your support of these ventures so that once again, we may be off to a smooth start for 2020.

Term 3 within secondary schools is an essential time of preparation. For Year 12 students, it is their last full school term in their lives - which can sometimes be a scary thought! It is undoubtedly a time for Year 12 students to consolidate their knowledge, continue to revise and prepare for the end of year exams. For all other students the focus of Term 3 is upon subject selections for 2020 and, with this, a focus upon future career choices.

Term 3 is traditionally a very busy time of year for students, staff and parents as planning for the next year begins in earnest. As a school we are attempting to provide as much information as we can to ensure that all of our students are making informed choices with regards to their subject selections. I understand the anxieties experienced by both parents and students in trying to determine which subjects to do in the subsequent years. At 14, 15 or 16 years of age it is difficult to determine a future career path or even direction. Many students are in exactly the same position of not knowing what it is that they may do in the future. 

There are some broad principles in terms of subject selections that apply to all students:

Choose subjects that you enjoy

This makes sense to me, as students will put more effort into subjects that they enjoy and where there is an increased chance of receiving good grades.

Choose subjects that are required for your future career path

Provided you know your future career path, you should choose any prerequisite subjects that may be required. Generally this means choosing the highest level of mathematics that you are capable of, continuing with a language if possible or investigating/researching the subjects that are required for tertiary study. Where a future career path is unknown, it is best to keep your options open by choosing a broad course or researching the consequences of not choosing a subject. 

Choose subjects that you are good at

Students may not necessarily like a particular subject but they are very talented in the area, or have always found the subject easier than most. 

I ask all families to allocate time to discuss subject selections over the next few weeks. Take advantage of the information sessions available here at the school, organise interviews with relevant staff members and complete your own research regarding what is best for your child.  As long as the decisions that are made are informed decisions, then we are all doing the best that we possibly can!

From the Deputy Principal Head of Broadmeadows Campus: Ernie Pisani Vol 11

From the Deputy Principal Head of Broadmeadows Campus: Ernie Pisani Vol 11

After being away on Long Service Leave for the whole of Term 2, I have hit the ground running and am ready for a busy but exciting term. As school terms go, Term 3 is probably the most productive as several major College events and activities take place this term. This Newsletter will highlight a number of these events. Senior …

Read more.


Annual College Production – Robin Hood & Babes in the Wood

In Week 9 of Term 2, our fabulous students, with the support of their wonderful crew performed six performances of our 2019 College Production – Robin Hood & Babes in the Wood.

As always, the talent, energy and enthusiasm of our Performing Arts students shined at every performance, much to the delight and enjoyment of all our audiences. Congratulations to all students involved both on and off stage!

Countless hours are poured into putting on a College Production. Throughout the year, rehearsals are held after school, on weekends and during school holidays. We are incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful creative and enthusiastic team of students, ex-students, staff, parents and wider community that come together year after year to share their time and talent.

On behalf of the Cast, Crew and Creative Team, we would like to thank everyone who assisted with the production – from parents and friends who drove their child to and from production rehearsals, to parents who assisted with catering and set building, through to staff, family members and ex-students who assisted with costumes, make-up and backstage. It is with the help of our Penola Community that we are able to successfully create wonderful performances such as Robin Hood. Our thanks also extends to everyone who supported our students by attending our performances. We truly hope you enjoyed our performance of Robin Hood as much as we enjoyed putting the whole show together!

With many thanks,

Mrs Ramona Arney

Head of Performing Arts/Instrumental Music Coordinator

 Mrs Dianne Lee

Instrumental Music Administration and Community Development


Sports Report

Congratulations to the Senior Girls AFL team who went through the season undefeated and narrowly beat Antonine College late last term to win the SACCSS premiership!  In a hard fought grand final, Tafa Malamu kicked the decisive goal to put Penola College in a winnable position.  Penola maintained the lead from this goal for the remainder of the game to win by 5 points.  The team was superbly captained by Ella Ryan and coached by Ms Ennor and assisted by Mrs Jones and Mrs Webb.  The victory sees Penola promoted to Division 1 for the 2020 season and with a number of girls returning next year, gives the College every opportunity to be competitive again.  Well done girls on a marvellous season!


Students are required for the following sports!  If you are interested in representing Penola, get in touch with the relevant teacher or see Ms Ennor or Mr Griffin for further details!

Have you made a representative team outside of Penola?  Please email me and let me know the details and supply an action shot so it can appear in the next newsletter!  Email: sgriffin@penola.vic.edu.au


Penola Sport Facebook Page 



Second Hand Uniform Sales 

Fortnightly Tuesdays, Broadmeadows Campus

8.45am - 10.30am

Term One: Feb 5, Feb 19, Mar 5, Mar 19, Apr 2
Term Two: Apr 23, May 7, May 21, Jun 4, Jun 18
Term Three: Jul 16, Jul 30, Aug 13, Aug 27, Sept 10
Term Four: Oct 8, Oct 22, Nov 12, Nov 26

Interested in selling your uniform?

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


2019 Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund (CSEF) 

CSEF applications have closed as from 28/6/19 except for:

Families on a bridging visa, temporary protection visa, are in community detention or are asylum seeker families

A letter from the Australian Red Cross, AMES, or similar organisation is required as evidence. A copy of an 'immi' card is also acceptable evidence.

Delia Gaetano
CSEF Administrator


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