Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    From the Principal

    Article by Mr Michael Exton

    Words can make a difference

    I’ve heard the word ‘struggling’ sometimes used when describing a student’s learning progress.  I have probably used this word myself.  I was struck by the message in an article1 I read recently about engaging teenagers in reading, “we should stop using the word struggling.”  The article’s author thinks this description reinforces the mindset that some people can become readers and some cannot.  I think this could be extended to all areas of learning.

    Labelling a learner as ‘struggling’ may undermine the learner’s self-belief and weaken his or her determination to take on the challenge that will lead to learning progress.  ‘Struggling’ in a particular area has a sense that progress is going to be unlikely, that achievement is going to be less than satisfactory and may lead to giving up the struggle.  Learning is a life-long process.  We can always learn more.  In keeping with our focus on a ‘growth mindset’, the better word to use is ‘developing.’  Developing implies that although you may not be there yet, you can make progress and overtime keep getting better.  With the belief that skills are built, we can learn and grow with a focus on the process rather than being worried about performance, ‘developing’ is more empowering and encouraging than ‘struggling.’

    It is difficult to strike a balance between building our natural strengths and developing other skills through slow, but continued persistence.  Research indicates the importance of challenge in building neural pathways.  It appears that our brains grow and increase in plasticity most when we work through difficult things.  And in the process of learning things that we may not enjoy or do not come quickly, we may discover our strengths and passions as well as become aware of our weaknesses and how we can adapt and manage difficulties.

    Providing encouragement, learning material within the zone of challenging but doable coupled with content that matches student interests and needs will enhance progress.  Students will develop a belief that they can get better and they can learn.  Self-belief is very important when it comes to learning, and a student who sees himself/herself as a developing rather than a struggling student in a particular area is more likely to make better progress.

    [1. - Ref: “Hippocampus, Principal’s digest newsletter,” No. 10, 2018 Ed. Linda Brown.]

    Term 3 Reports and Parent / Student / Teacher Interviews

    It is hard to believe that next week is the last week of term three. When the Year 12 students return next term, they will have just over two weeks of formal classes remaining before exams commence in late October. To maximise their level of achievement, our senior students obviously need to plan to make the most of the remaining time.

    To help you with your planning can I please remind all parents about the following:

    • Semester Two Interim Reports will be available via the Parent Portal on Wednesday 12th September

    • The follow-up Parent, Teacher and Student Meetings will be held on next Thursday 20th September (4.00pm to 6.00pm and 7.00pm to 8.30pm) and Friday 21st September (9.00am to 12noon);

    • Last day of term three classes will be Thursday 20th September. Please note that Friday 21st September is a student free day due to the Parent / Teacher / Student meetings.

    • The first day of term four is Monday 8th October.

    A letter has been emailed to parents/guardians to explain how to book a Parent, Teacher and Student Meeting.


    Time & Space

    In the lead up to Father’s Day, we saw the successful completion of the second round of the annual “Time & Space” evenings for the year.

    On the Tuesday we held the Year 7 Father & Daughter Night and on the Thursday the Year 8 Father & Son Night. The feedback has again been overwhelmingly very positive.

    I commend the students who were able to bring along their father or male mentor and congratulate the men who were able to come and share some special time with their girl or boy. I also congratulate the students who volunteered to help in one of some ways on the night.  Well done to Mr. Michael Timms (Deputy Principal), Ms. Tory Wood (YLC) and the staff teams who were involved with working with Mr. Bill Jennings (Time & Space Facilitator) for coordinating these events.


    Thyme & Plates evening

    After last year’s successful launch, on the Wednesday evening prior to Father’s Day, we ran the Year 9 Parent and student night – “Thyme & plates.”  All places we snapped up for this wonderful night that involved parents and their daughter or son cooking and sharing a meal together.  The participants were guided through thought provoking conversation that builds on the 'Time & Space' program. 

    Thank you to Mr. Michael Timms (Deputy Principal), Ms. Tory Wood (YLC), Ms. Kristin Williamson (YLC) and the staff teams who were involved.


    School Community Surveys

    Thank you to parents who completed the online school improvement surveys. Students and staff members have also been surveyed.  “Insight SRC” conducts the surveys on behalf of Saint Ignatius College Geelong and the Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) and they will provide us with an analysis of the responses later in the year. Your feedback will provide valuable information for the College Executive to use to monitor how we are going as a school and plan for improvements.


    CLOGS Op. Shop

    A commendable initiative of some of our senior students was the CLOGS (Catholic Leaders of Geelong Schools) “Op. Shop” that was jointly organised by students from the four Catholic Colleges. The students collected donated clothing from students at their schools and sold these items at the Geelong West Town Hall last Saturday morning. All reports indicate this was a very successful activity. Some of the clothing was made available to certain local groups, and the rest was sold with the funds raised going to the charity, St Vincent de Paul Society.

    Well done to our College Captains, Dean O’Brien and Kerry Kingsbury, Mr. Anthony Gravener (Student Leadership Development Coordinator) and the team of senior students involved in organising this activity.


    Summer Uniform compulsory for Term Four

    With the warmer months approaching, can I please ask parents to check that their daughter's/son’s summer uniform is in order before they need to wear it next term? Some things to be mindful of are:

    • The tie does not have to be worn with the summer uniform in term four;
    • The summer shirt can be worn not tucked in to the shorts;

    • The only type of school shoes permissible are black leather (able to be polished) ones, preferably lace-up (no skate or sports type shoes);

    • The jumper is not to be the outer garment when travelling to and from school, if it is cold the student should wear their blazer;

    • Long hair (longer than to the shoulder) is tied back with college coloured ribbons and kept off the face;

    • Summer uniform dress length must be to the knee; and

    • The navy blue school hat is compulsory in term four.

    Please find a copy of the uniform policy that relates to summer uniform in the front section of the student planner.


    Staff News

    Best wishes to Ms Jessica Grapsas who will commence parental leave from the beginning of next term. Ms Kristin Williamson will take on the Acting Food Technology Learning Area position for the remainder of this year with Ms Grapsas being away. I welcome, Ms. Simone Martin who will cover Ms Grapsas’ classes for term four.

    Mrs Annette Chidzey will be away for the first six weeks of next term on long service leave. On behalf of our school community I wish Mrs Chidzey a restful and enjoyable time. Ms Anna Oliver will be Acting Deputy Principal (Teaching & Learning) during Mrs Chidzey’s absence.



    On behalf of the College community, I express my sympathy to the Evans family - Steve, Joanne, Caitlin (2012), Kelly (2017) and David (Year 10) - on the loss of their loved son and brother, Toby. Toby finished Year 12 in 2010 at Saint Ignatius College. Please keep the Evans family on your thoughts and prayers at this very sad and difficult time.

    May Toby rest in peace.


    Best Wishes

    This is the final newsletter for term three. The next newsletter will be available late in the day on Thursday 11th October 2018. 

    I hope all students have a restful break with some time spent revising work and preparing for next term included. Best wishes to all families for an enjoyable time together. 

    Thank you to our dedicated and hard-working staff members for their efforts to support our students’ educational experiences throughout the term. I wish all staff members who will be on holidays my best wishes for a well-deserved and enjoyable break. 

    Michael Exton  Principal


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