Newsletter - Volume 16 - 17 October 2019


From The Principal: Chris Caldow


Term 4 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.

Term 4 within any school is a very unique term, and often in my imagination, the term seems like a period of continuous ‘count downs’, and I am sure many of the staff and students feel the same. Some of the countdowns include the last day of classes for our Year 12 students; the beginning of Year 12 examinations followed by Year 10 and 11 examinations. We also have a countdown to the Year 9 exams and then the many and various deadlines for the Year 7 and 8 students. These events will be quite quickly be followed by graduations, and before we all know it, it will be Christmas!

Student Free Days this Term

Monday, 4 November is a Student-Free Day to allow staff time for planning, preparation, assessment of student learning, collaboration, curriculum planning and professional learning.  This day will be student free for both campuses.  I recognise that this creates an imposition on families and thank you in advance for your ongoing support as we strive to improve student outcomes.

Friday, 22 November and Monday, 25 November areStudent-Free Days for the Broadmeadows/Senior Campus. This will allow our senior students (Years 9 - 11) a small break between finishing exams and commencing their Headstart Program and allow our staff to have a Correction Day to finalise grades. Our junior students (Years 7 & 8) have exams on Friday, 22 November.  The Year 7 students are at the Glenroy Campus and Year 8 students are at the Broadmeadows Campus.

Friday, 29 November is a Student-Free Day for our Years 7 & 8 students at the Glenroy Campus to all our junior campus staff time for correction and report writing of the end of year reports.

Our current Year 8 students will be involved in their 2020 Headstart program at the Senior Campus from Monday, 2 December to Thursday, 5 December. Our current Year 7 students will remain at the Glenroy Campus but will commence their 2020 Headstart Program from Monday, 2 December to Thursday, 5 December.

Sisters of St Joseph Chapter

I was fortunate enough to attend the Sisters of St Joseph Chapter on Wednesday, 2 October as the current AJASS President.  This is the 27th Chapter for the Sisters and takes place from September 29 – October 15.

 Chapter is a time when the Sisters:

• Engage in considering their response to the signs of the times at this point in their story i.e. to consider the context in which the Sisters live and participate in God’s mission

• Restate their mission afresh in response to these times

• Elect a leadership team to lead the Sisters in implementing this commitment to their participation in mission

The Chapter has three main movements to:

• Naming our current reality and setting the context at this moment in our story

• Discerning our vision and direction for the next six years

• Electing a leadership team to guide the Congregation in implementing this vision

I was asked to attend as the current AJASS President and spoke to the Sisters about the challenge of formation for both staff and students in the Josephite Charism.

Staff Changes

Welcome to new staff members Mr Del Waller who joins us from Strathmore Secondary College as the new Wood Teacher and Mr Andrew Theodorakopoulos who will both be working at the Glenroy Campus this term replacing Joe Bilotta. Welcome back to Angela Xidias after her Long Service Leave and my thanks to Katie Murray-Fawcett for covering for Ange as Coordinator of Students throughout her leave period and Olympia Kangalis for taking Ange’s Year 11 Legal Studies class. Welcome back to James Maddocks after his Long Service Leave for all of Term 3 and my thanks to Neale Irwin for covering.  Lauren Johnson returns after a combination of Long Service Leave and Sick Leave for Term 3. My thanks to Nur Ankara for covering Lauren’s classes as well as Carli Saddington who took on Lauren’s Year 12 Literature class. Welcome back to Sarah Rossi who returns this term to take over from Carol Robinson who unfortunately had to resign due to changing family circumstances.

Year 10 Ball

We look forward to the Year 10 Ball on Friday, 18 October at Melrose Receptions. The Year 10 Ball is one of my favourite events in our Calendar as it provides an opportunity for our parents to see their sons and daughters interacting with others and enjoying themselves.  It also allows us as staff members to see some of our students in a different light as they present themselves in a different way to the way in which they may present in the classroom.  My thanks our Year 10 PE Staff who assisted in teaching the dancing, Michelle Galati, Deveraj Kumar and Rosa Lucarelli for their expert dance tuition and to Katie Murray-Fawcett, Ann-Maree Dellorso and Danny Diaz for all of their organisation of the event.  My favourite part of the night is always the father-daughter and mother-son dance where all enjoy the experience!

Summative Review

My Summative Review will take place on Wednesday, 30 October and the panel will consist of Ms Vicki Myers - Principal Consultant of Catholic Education Melbourne, Mr Matt Byrne – Principal of Damascus College Ballarat and Mrs Mary Anastasopoulos - Board Chair at Penola Catholic College. This review is conducted in the second last year of the contract and my initial contract is for 7 years. This review is to determine whether I have made improvements from my formative review and the Canonical Administrators then determine whether they will offer a new 5 year contract. I thank staff, students and parents in advance for your honest feedback, which you will provide either through the survey or through interview.

Parking around the school

As many of you are aware, parking around both campuses is at a premium.  Sometimes this results in parents parking in inappropriate places, including across residents driveways, which inevitably leads to conflict.  Can I ask all parents to be considerate of our neighbours and not park across their driveways so that they can access their properties.  We endeavor to maintain excellent relationships with all of our neighbours at both campuses but this is very difficult when our parents treat them with disrespect.  I know that it is only a handful of parents on a small number of occasions where this occurs but consideration of others is required for society to function effectively.

Coping with Exams

In this busy time, more than half of the school will be engaged in end of year examinations, and if you include end of year assessment tasks there should be many students with very demanding deadlines ahead of them. Therefore, for this reason, I thought it would be valuable to discuss with families how you might support your son or daughter during what can be a challenging period for school work.

At meetings with new parents I always try and make a habit of saying that school always will be the second educator of students, as parents are by a long margin, the number one educator. This is no marketing slogan or cute catch-phrase, but, I think, a very basic truth. And as such, it is most important that parents continue the very important role as educators of their sons and daughters. The type of assistance I am talking about is not meant to be like a teacher at home, but a more powerful supportive role that helps them perform well at school. So if I was drawing up a list of supportive things that families can do during this time of exams and projects, it would look something like this…

The highest priority might seem very obvious but I think it is still important to name it; and that is that most students perform at their best if their home environment is well ordered, has consistent rules and a warm and supportive emotional climate. All students prosper if there is regularity in their study habits and environment.

The second most important thing is that home study times should be in place, which are consistently adhered to, preferably in a public place in the house where there is a quiet but supportive buzz of people around the student who is doing the study. I am sure I have mentioned before that in most cases, shutting a boy or girl in their room is just about the worst thing you can do.

The fact is, only a certain percentage of students really enjoy home study, so it can be a real benefit to students who do not enjoy home study to be in an environment where other people are around them, but this has to be done in a way that ensures relative calm.  In that environment students can seek quite a bit of support from parents about having, for example, something read over, or a question made clearer, and parents can also get some understanding of how their son or daughter is coping with the work at hand.

In the case of older students (and I mean by this anybody from Year 10 onwards), the reality is they are becoming more independent and therefore parents have less control over some aspects of their life style. Nonetheless, I think it is really important that parents of this age group help their children make sensible choices about balancing competing life style agendas.

For example, sleep deprivation can be a significant issue for young people, so it is important for parents to help older teenagers make wise decisions about how often they go out, work part-time jobs and generally cram into their busy lives. It is not uncommon for a young person to have a job, a busy social calendar and budding relationships whilst still at school. It can be a tricky business when parents try to step in and take control when teenagers are not making wise choices. It is important for parents to develop the knack of having these supportive conversations about managing their quite complex lives in a healthy manner.

Some lifestyle advice can be given more surreptitiously, for example, by putting bowls of carrot and dried fruit and nuts in front of them as they study, and keeping the coke and sugary foods at a distance. These sorts of proactive actions are often much more powerful than sitting down and telling them to eat properly.

Another area where parents can be of enormous benefit is with time management. Many young people fall into the trap of just starting at the start and ploughing through the work to the end. They often think that just working at 100 miles an hour is going to be the best way. Advice about assessing priorities, breaking down tasks into components and creating timelines can be of real benefit.

For some students, exam and assessment periods bring about an increase in anxiety levels. We know that once anxiety gets to a certain level there can be a loss of good judgment and a decrease in work quality. Therefore, parents can be a great support for their children by assisting with planning deadlines, timelines and generally sorting out the broad scope of what has to be done. These are very much adult skills that many young people do not have.

Another important but complex area of support is the help parents can provide with their emotions. Although there are no simple rules or guidelines, parents have an enormous role to play by helping their child’s thinking and feelings to be positive and realistic. Strange as it may sound, too many students, particularly boys, overestimate their ability and as a consequence, can experience disappointment due to over confidence. If your child is like this, your job will be to keep them realistic and grounded. Overconfidence can be an unfortunate masculine characteristic and it is important to ensure that our young men are not too blasé about the capabilities.

Conversely, there is another group of students who are the opposite. Some are prone to anxiety and unfortunately talking that person up is not necessarily the best solution to this problem. Building confidence through pep talks may be a valuable ingredient, but by far the best solution is actually helping them think or work through whatever it is that is making them anxious. When I say help them “think through” I do mean that. When it comes to school there is no doubt that one of the hardest things for some parents is to not tell their adolescent children how to think or act, but instead be a form of mentor.

The last aspect where support can be very valuable relates to a wider problem solving capacity that young people often don’t have. This falls broadly into a communication or seeking help category. It is most important that students are able to talk over problems with their teachers, or raise concerns and know that they will be heard and understood. Offering simple advice such as when or how an issue may be broached with a teacher, or reminding your son or daughter that it might be a good idea to let your teacher know about this, can be an enormous benefit. Young people can fall into the trap of thinking that everyone around them is a mind reader and know what their problem is. Conversely, they may think that nobody would care or pay attention. Generally putting teachers in the picture, and also putting Mum and/or Dad in the picture is tremendously beneficial.

Most of the things I have talked about fall into the category of life skills. They do not require university courses or degrees but they do need careful thought and consideration. If you are able to provide these valuable life skills for your child, you will be giving them a significant form of education that will not only benefit them while they are at Penola but will set them up for success in whatever area of pursuit they follow after school.

With my own son and daughter currently preparing for their end of Year University examinations, it is easy to suggest these strategies but it may not mean that your son or daughter takes them up! I have listed below some suggestions from others:

Professor Andrew Martin from the School of Education at the University of NSW (UNSW) says, Before major exams, the focus starts to shift to doing practice exams. “As students mark or assess their answers, they will benefit from looking closely at “mistakes” and seeing these as windows of opportunity for improvement,” he said. “Even at this stage, it is not too late to learn a bit more, better understand some aspects of a subject, improve one’s writing, and so on.” Professor Martin says that as revision is done, students should keep their mobile phone out of the study area and switch off social networking and gaming if working on a computer. “Finally, get some decent sleep and do some physical activity during this period,” he said.

According to Dr Rachael Jacobs, Western Sydney University, the key is avoiding the “disproportionate” stress that surrounds the end-of-year exams. “Students often feel like their whole lives and futures ride on ATAR exams,” Dr Jacobs said, adding that the news images of students in desks and chairs, isolated from each other, exacerbates community stress around high-stakes exams. “No student should ever feel that their future is dependent on one set of exams. We have more university places than ever before. Employers are looking for more than good results.”

To Dr Penny Van Bergen, a senior lecturer in Educational Psychology at Macquarie University, the best way to prepare for the Year 12 exams is for students to ask questions, test themselves, mix up their study sessions and avoid cramming. “The evidence is in, cramming the night before an exam is not as effective as studying for the same duration over a longer period,” Professor Van Bergen said. “Whether you have 10 hours or 100 hours spare, the brain works most efficiently when sessions are spread out and there is time to consolidate all the new information.”

Viviana Wuthrich, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Macquarie University, advises students and parents to “keep the pressure to excel in perspective”. “We all want to do well, but the key is to not blow the consequences of the exam out of proportion,” she said. "Secondly, balance study with rest time, and look towards life after the exams.” Associate professor Wuthrich said about one in five students experience particularly high levels of stress, but the majority experience only moderate levels of stress. “Exam stress appears to be lessened by strong family, peer and school connections, and an absence of negative thinking about the consequences of exams,” she said.

Year 7 Enrolments 2021

A reminder to all of our existing families that Year 7 enrolments for 2020 closed on Friday, 16 August.  A number of families (in excess) applied after the close of enrolment last year and it makes it very difficult to accurately plan for the following year so I ask that you submit your enrolment as soon as possible.  Often families assume that we know that there is a younger sibling but I would be very disappointed if one of our existing families missed out on an enrolment due to not submitting their enrolment in a timely manner.

Student Photographs

A reminder to all parents that you need to notify the College if you do not give permission for your son or daughter’s photograph to be published in newsletters or promotional materials.  We would like to begin to place more photographs and videos on MyPenola and so I take this opportunity to remind you of the student permission form for photographs.  If we have not received your permission form back at the College we have assumed that your consent has been provided.  It is the responsibility of each family to make this decision and notify the College if you decide to exclude your son or daughter from having their photograph published.  In practical terms, this will mean that your son or daughter will need to be excluded from most group shots such as class photographs as these are published in our Year Book each year.

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

From the Deputy Principal Head of Broadmeadows Campus: Ernie Pisani Vol 16

Year 12 Finish As the Year 12 students prepare for their final stages of their formal education, we wish them every success. These students will be farewelled in a series of appreciation activities that start next Monday at the final College Assembly. On the following morning, they will have their annual dress up morning followed by a special breakfast with …

Read more.


From the Deputy Principal Head of Teaching and Learning: Nicole Allan Vol 16

Booklists 2020 Booklists for next year will be distributed in class over the coming days. They will also be available on the MyPenola Curriculum-Subject Selection page. This year there is an important new change for you to take note of. You will receive two booklists. These are: The whole booklist with every required resource listed An English novel booklist that …

Read more.


Uniform Changeover Period

The College has designated particular uniform changeover periods during the year.
During the following changeover period, students may wear either full summer or full winter uniform:

• 7th October – 11th October

These arrangements may be varied by the College in cases of unseasonal weather.



The College Bag is a compulsory item of the college uniform. 

The chiropractic back pack (padding at the back) will be $90 as of the beginning of Term 4 (Cost includes GST). 

The College back pack can be purchased from either the Glenroy Campus office or the Accounts office at Broadmeadows during college hours (8am-4.00pm).


Summative Review 

On Wednesday 30 October 2019, a Summative Review of Mr Chris Caldow in his role as Principal of Penola Catholic College will take place.  The purpose of the review is in accordance with the contract under which Mr Caldow is employed whichstates in Clause 8.6.1 that “In the penultimate year of the Principal’s contract, a summative appraisal of the Principal’s performance will be conducted.  The particular focus of this appraisal will be on the provision of advice to the Church Authority in the matter of a further contract for the Principal” (Clause 8.6.1).

Penola Catholic College engages in the School Improvement Framework processes of Catholic Education Melbourne.  The five spheres that are the focus of this process are:

• Education in Faith

• Learning and Teaching

• Student and Staff Wellbeing

• Leadership and Management

• School community

and these areas will form the basis of Mr Caldow’s Summative Review along with the additional area of ‘Working with the Canonical Administrators and the College Board.’


The panel that will conduct the Formative Review comprises:

• Mrs Mary Anastasopoulos     (nominee of the Canonical Administrators)

• Mr Matthew  Byrne               (nominee of the Principal, principal of Damascus College)

• Ms Victoria Myers                (nominee of the Executive Director of Catholic Education & Panel Chair)

As part of the review process feedback from staff will be sought via interviews and an online survey.

Parents may also provide feedback to the Review Panel by

a)    requesting an interview on Wednesday 30 October.  This can be done by contacting Mr Caldow’s office at the College

b)    by sending an email to the Panel Chair, Ms Victoria Myers vmyers@cem.edu.au  prior to 24 October 2019. 


Having a conversation about learning when your child gets home after a long day at school can at times be like trying to draw blood from a stone, however gently probing them about what they learnt and some of the challenges they faced during the day is a great way of getting your young person to reflect on their learning. 

Below are 5 questions from Visible Learning (https://visible-learning.org/) you could consider in that they are open-ended (i.e. can’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no”), encourage thought and can be a stimulus for further conversation. Consider posing these questions whilst you have a captive audience in the car if you are a parent who collects their child/children at the end of the school day, or perhaps at the dinner table later in the evening when there is a chance for more detailed conversation.

Here at Penola Catholic College our teachers typically articulate a ‘success criteria’ to students at the start and end of every class; this indicates what students should ideally be able to do by the conclusion of that particular class, or are working towards knowing/being able to do. These are also possible good starting points for conversation – one question you could pose may be “What were some of the success criteria in your classes today you were able to tick off?”.

Thanks all,
Ashley Mills on behalf of the Literacy Improvement Team (Adam Hipwell, Carolyn Nguyen, Nola Francis) 


Last September, three of year 9 students, Jordan Gioskos, Nicholas Campbell and Benjamin O’Dwyer submitted a 90-second video pitch about their STEM project in Science and were successful in being selected to showcase their project “The Microbial Fuel Cell” at the STEM MAD EVENT 2019.

On Thursday 10th October, all three students were accompanied by their Science teacher Mr Roulant to the STEM event being held at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne. The event was hosted by Shelley Waldon, who is the Project Officer for Science & Innovation at Catholic Education Services, and highlighted the STEM work of 100 schools across Victoria including both Secondary and Primary schools.

Visitors, including sponsors, were delighted by the talent of students and the variety of innovative STEM projects on display. Jordan, Nicholas and Benjamin were great Penola ambassadors throughout the day as they explained and demonstrated to visitors how their Microbial Fuel Cell could provide a sustainable source of energy for the environment. In brief, the Microbial Fuel Cell utilises the bacteria in waste products, such as wastewater or food scraps, to create both electrical energy and clean water. Our Penola students were also thrilled to take part in a 10-minute live radio interview with Ralph Barba, of Live FM, that was broadcast both nationally and internationally. Well done boys! 


Fashion Awards Australia

On Friday 11th October, 25 students represented Penola Catholic College at the Fashion Awards Australia held at the Encore Centre Hoppers Crossing. The students represented PCC in various fashion categories.

This event provides student designers and models with a valuable experience and opportunity to present their designs to a panel of judges and showcase their designs to a larger audience.

All students conducted themselves with professionalism and were great ambassadors for Penola Catholic College.

Congratulations to the following students for their outstanding achievements in the following categories:

Recycled Wearable Art year 9/10 & 11/12

• Joulia Yokhana 1st place

• Taylah Cackett 2nd (graduate student 2018)

• Helena Badawi 3rd place                                               

Up Cycling Jazzy Wear year 11/12

• Alyssa Younes 2nd place

Costume Fantasy year 11/12

• Helena Badawi 1st place

• Buota Shamuel 3rd place

Long Gown year 11/12

• Mikaela Skender 1st Place

Penola Catholic College 2nd Place


Japanese Club Excursion (Junior campus)

On 18th of September, 15 students from the Japanese club were taken on an excursion to a Japanese restaurant called ‘Chiba’ in Moonee Ponds. It was extremely fun, being able to eat good food and talk with friends. The experience also allowed me to learn about the Japanese culture and its food. Overall, I would definitely go back as it was very delicious and was a comfortable place to eat. Unfortunately, because I am leaving Penola at the end of this year, I will not be able to go again with the school; however, it is a good memory I will remember when I leave school.



One Way To Improve Our Children’s Writing

The most recent NAPLAN results have been released and with this testing having taken place across Australia for a number of years now, they are beginning to reveal some concerning trends.

A recent article published in The Age (September 15, 2019) titled ‘Parents should put down their phones and help solve Australia's writing crisis’ by Jenny Atkinson states “At a national level, students' writing ability has declined each year for the last eight years. For students in year 7, this is the backdrop of their life at school. In 2024, these year 7 students will graduate. If there is no change to this trend, they will lead a wave of students exiting school not able to write to the minimum standard.”

A concern for both parents and teachers alike.

In Atkinson’s article she asserts that technology is part of the problem. Drawing and the act of writing activates more neural pathways as all learning systems are in play (visual, linguistic and kinesthetic). Moreover, writing has lifelong individual and social implications. On a personal level, decreased literacy can impair our capacity to write a cover letter for a dream job, to access information about something we are curious about or to run a business to support our family. Socially implications of poor literacy are on the work of tomorrow’s scientists, the credibility of our mainstream media and the economic viability of our education system to international students.

So, what to do when faced with this complex issue other than throw our hands up and say ‘It’s all too hard!’? Well Jenny Atkinson suggests that we should start by encouraging our children to write a 12-page book to inspire and ignite a love of writing. And when they complete this, we should put our phones down and read their book. We should celebrate their success, convey our pride to them and create a new norm where writing is respected, valued and most importantly read.


To read the full article, click on the following link: https://www.theage.com.au/education/parents-should-put-down-their-phones-and-help-solve-australia-s-writing-crisis-20190911-p52qc3.html


Sports Report by Mr Griffin Vol 16

Sports Report Congratulations to Benjamin Sweeting (Year 10) and Rocco Brigante (Year 9).  Benjamin is the current Junior (Under 17) 70kg Victorian Champion.  Rocco recently recorded his 5th Victorian Title triumph.  Both Benjamin and Rocco will now travel to the Gold Coast to compete in the Australian Championships representing Team Victoria.  Good luck gents!  We look forward to hearing how …

Read more.


Penola Sport Facebook Page 


Penola Art and Design Show 2019

Opening ceremony 6th November - 4pm
Mary MacKillop Auditorium Foyer
Student Awards
Refreshments provided.



Second Hand Uniform Sales 

Fortnightly Tuesdays, Broadmeadows Campus

8.45am - 10.30am

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


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