Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    From the Principal

    Article by Mr Michael Exton

    From the Principal 

    Welcome to the new school year!

    I welcome all families to the new school year at Saint Ignatius and welcome you to the first fortnightly College Newsletter. I trust you will find this publication very informative, interesting and helps you feel better connected to College life throughout the year.

    After the period of preparation for the beginning of a new school year, I along with my colleagues were excited and pleased to welcome our students back to school.  Last Monday 1,314 students, including 250 new Year 7 students and 17 new students across other year levels, commenced the 2019 academic year.  Each year the number of College enrolments increases.  Last year’s beginning of year enrolment number was 1,279. We are well planned for this growth and ready for a great new year of learning.

    As well as many new students, there are twelve new staff members and five returning from leave. Welcome to:


    Mr Jason Broadbear              Health & Physical Education Learning Area Leader & Teacher

    Ms Emily Caleo                       Maths & Science Teacher

    Ms Emma Cuthill                    English & Religious Education Teacher

    Ms Kate Kearney                     Food Technology Teacher

    Ms Jennifer Peters                 Assistant Business Manager

    Mr Brenton Reid                      Digital Technology Learning Area Leader & Teacher

    Ms Latasha Slocombe           Science & Biology Teacher

    Mr Michael Tod                       English & Religious Education Teacher

    Ms Lisa Turner                         Learning Support Officer

    Ms Rhea Walker                      Theatre Studies & Drama Teacher

    Ms Olivia Whitehead               Student Wellbeing Coordinator

    Ms Belinda Wilson                  Art Teacher (Term One)



    Ms Heather Davis                     Religious Education Teacher

    Mr Peter Grull                           Maths & Science Teacher

    Ms Allison Hill                           Health & Physical Education & Science Teacher

    Ms Michelle Santuccione       English & Drama Teacher

    Ms Narelle Spencer                  Indonesian & Humanities Teacher

    A complete 2019 College Staff list is available here:

    2019 Saint Ignatius College Staff List PDF 2019 Saint Ignatius College Staff List PDF (124 KB)

    All reports indicate a very good start to the academic year. I recognise the effort parents have gone to in preparing their daughter/son to commence the new year on a well organised and positive note. I acknowledge the work my colleagues, teachers and school officers, have done to ensure we have begun well. I encourage high expectations for students and affirm the effort they will have put in to set themselves up for a smooth start to the year.

    Our first major event, a full school assembly will be held tomorrow morning.  I invite all parents and friends of the College to attend this assembly.  Please report to the school office at 8:50 am so a seat can be organized for you before the 9 am commencement in the College Gym.

    Full School Assemblies are a significant and vital aspect of our community’s and in particular, our students’, school experience. Parents and special guests are also invited to attend assemblies. Each assembly has a primary focus.  There will be seven assemblies this year:

    1. Fri. 8th Feb. (9 am – 10:30 am) – Encouragement of academic achievement

    2. Tues. 2nd April (9 am – 10:30 am) – Student led assembly (includes Easter Liturgy)

    3. Thurs. 16th May (10:46 am – 12:46 pm) – College annual theme

    4. Wed. 31st July (9 am – 10:30 am) – Feast Day (our Ignatian ethos & identity)

    5. Mon. 21st Oct. (10:46 am – 12:46 pm) – Farewell to our Year 12 students

    6. Fri. 8th Nov. (9 am – 11 am) – Student Leadership (includes investiture of leaders for 2020)

    7. Thurs. 21st Nov. (7 pm – 9 pm) – Mosaic (College Annual Celebration evening)

    A significant positive influence on student outcomes is parental involvement in and support of school programs. Over the last few years, there has been a high attendance of parents at our Information Evenings, and I want to encourage this to remain as part of our community’s support of an active learning culture for our students.

    • Thursday 7th February – Year 7 Welcome Mass and information session
    • Monday 18th February – Years 10, 11 & 12 Information Evening – 7 pm
    • Wednesday 20th February – Year 8 Information Evening – 6:45 pm
    • (There is no beginning of the year Year 9 Parent Information Evening. There will be one later in the year to prepare for the Year 9 camp.) 

    Parents are also most welcome to attend school events this term as follows:

    • Monday 25th February – House Swimming Carnival (Kardinia Pool, Geelong)
    • Sunday 24th March - Open Day


    Parents helping their children succeed at school

    With the commencement of the new year, I provide the following thoughts from “Principal’s Digests” (Volume 19  Number 4)  to support parents as they contemplate their approach to helping their daughter/son have a successful school year. In most cases these points may just reinforce what many parents already do among many other effective ways of supporting their child. 

    “Let your child see you making mistakes."

    Parents are their child’s first teacher and their lifetime teacher. Part of being a lifetime teacher is teaching your child how to deal with making mistakes. When you make mistakes, let them see that you can deal with it so they will know you can move on easily. 

    Use e-mail to keep in touch.

    E-mail is a great way to reach your child’s teacher without having to play phone tag. E-mail is great for teachers because they can have a record of a conversation or print things out to put in a student’s file as a reminder. If parents are hearing where their students are struggling, they should feel comfortable talking to the teacher about it. Teachers want to know when students need more help. It’s essential that there’s much positive communication going back and forth - from “your child did a great job today” to hear that students are talking at home about what they’ve learned in school. 

    Don’t tell your child that you weren’t good at maths.

    Parents might feel intimidated by the thought of helping children with their maths homework, especially in the upper grades. Never say, “It’s okay, I’ve always been bad at maths, too”. You would never say that about reading. Maths is here to serve you, not to trip you up. It’s here to make life easier, and a lot of that can start at home with parents showing that they’re not intimidated by numbers. Try to relate it to daily activities, whether it’s calculating statistics at a sporting event or working out the cost of groceries. Capitalise on those day-to-day things where maths comes up rather than drilling children on maths facts. That way you’re really engaging them and letting them see how what they’re learning matters in life.

    Get organised with a colour-coded system

    Older students are expected to be more independent and manage their assignments themselves, but as they transition from primary school, they can find it hard to keep track of everything. Try using colour-coordinated folders and notebooks to help students keep their material for different subjects organised.

    Check their homework, and then ask them to explain it to you

    It’s not enough to just get the answers right. To make sure your children aren’t guessing or spitting back memorised information, ask them to explain what they did and why. Even if parents don’t understand quite what the student has done, you know that the child has completed the task. If the child has actually to explain what they’re doing it lets the parent know their child’s level of understanding and also helps the child learn more deeply.

    Don’t compare your child with others

    This applies to all children but is especially crucial for students who have learning disabilities or other special needs. Don’t put pressure on the child to be just like the child down the street. There’s no such thing as the child that’s like every other child. Every child is different. They all have strengths and weaknesses, they all have talents and challenges. 

    Help your child make connections to literature

    To help your child get the most out of books, focus on problem-solving, social skills and life experience.

    For instance, take your children to the zoo (life experience). Teach them to ask an adult for help (problem-solving) or to hold the door for others (social skills). With an arsenal of these skills in place, they will be able to relate their own life experiences to those of book characters, improving their comprehension. If they don’t have these life experiences, and we ask them to make deeper connections to literature, it can be hard for them. 

    Middle school and high school are not the time to take a more hands-off approach

    Just because your children are getting older doesn’t mean it’s time to put them on auto-pilot. This is the point in their lives when they’re trying to sort out who they are. Peer pressure is intense, and their connectedness to school can wane. When drugs, bullying, peer pressure and skipping class become more rampant, that’s when your teenagers really need you, your support and wisdom and your rules and values. Remember they are always looking out the corner of their eye to see what you are thinking and how you are reacting. You show them how an adult deals with life. 

    Don’t do everything for your child

    Sometimes it’s faster to do things yourself than wait for your child to complete a task. However, by doing everything for them, you’re not preparing them to take care of themselves. If your child is having trouble with something, such as organising his backpack, stand next to him and have him do it while you talk him through the process. This goes for time management as well. Parents can empower their children to think for themselves and be more responsible for themselves. They need to figure out: How do I juggle all of the activities and classes but not have to rely on Mum and Dad to step in?

    Ask about your child’s day

    Stay involved in your child’s education. Even small things, like asking children what they did in school, can be the difference between a child who unplugs at the end of the day and one who continues thinking about what was learned. If a student goes home and everyone says one thing they did that day, repeating it to anyone else in the house will help them remember it. If they say, ‘I don’t remember’ or ‘I don’t know,’ ask them something specific: ‘What did you do in science today,’ something that will get them talking about what they have learned.”

    We are looking forward to a rewarding year as we work together to nurture the growth and development of our students.

    Best wishes for 2019,

    Michael Exton Principal

    Privacy and information collection - Saint Ignatius College Geelong is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1998. In relation to health records, the School is also bound by the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic.). A copies of the College’s Privacy Policy and ‘Collection Notice’ that take into account these laws, technology and changes to the School’s operations and practices is available on our website. You can find the link at the bottom of the College’s web page. 

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