From the Principal - Mr Chris Caldow Vol 12

Congratulations to Mr. Ashley Mills
Congratulations to Mr. Ashley Mills who has been appointed as Head of Wellbeing at Iona College in Geelong for 2022. We will farewell Ash at the end of the year, but I would like to publicly thank Ash for his efforts at Penola Catholic College over the past 16.5 years. He has taken on many roles throughout this time as Year Level Coordinator, Coordinator of Students (Years 11 & 12), Literacy Coach, outstanding Health and Physical Education teacher, Football Coach and Penola medalist recognising his contributions.

Year 7 Enrolments 2023
A reminder to all of our existing families, that Year 7 enrolments for 2023 close on Friday, 20 August. A number of families 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 and 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.

Mary MacKillop Day
St Mary MacKillop is Australia’s first saint and patron saint of Penola Catholic College. This year we celebrate St Mary MacKillop Day on Friday, August 6, 2021 which is close to the anniversary of Mary’s death on August 8, 1909. Much has been planned for the day and the day has a different focus given that we are unable to meet together as a whole community with current restrictions on large gatherings. It provides us with a chance to celebrate our collective Josephite charism and spirit here at Penola. This is done through a Mass which will be live streamed to each homeroom at the beginning of the day followed by a presentation from Sr Rita Malavisi on Mary MacKillop.

We are planning on having our celebration/activities day with rides and food trucks etc. on Friday, October 15 (close to the anniversary of Mary MacKillop’s canonisation – October 17) provided restrictions have eased and we are able to meet in large numbers.

I am looking forward to St Mary MacKillop Day and hope that it is both successful and rewarding for all. When you sign up for a place at Penola there are a range of different things that you are required to do as a result. Involvement in whole school activities such as our masses and St Mary MacKillop Day is non-negotiable.

College Production – Fame Jr
The performances for the College production will take place on:

  • Monday, August 9 at 4.30pm. & 7.30pm.
  • Tuesday, August 10 at 4.30pm. & 7.30pm.
  • Wednesday, August 11 at 4.30pm. & 7.30pm.

Fortunately, we will have live audiences present and adhere to any density limits / COVID restrictions. Maximum 65 on Monday and Maximum of 100 on Tuesday & Wednesday.

We wish the staff and students of Junior Fame all the best in the coming weeks.

Careers Expo
The Senior Programs Evening did not go ahead due to lockdown and Mr. Terry McGann liaised with Tertiary representatives to present virtually during the week Monday, August 2 until Thursday, August 5. We have timeslots allocated on each day for presentations between 4.00pm and 7.30pm. Universities, TAFEs, and Private Tertiary Colleges will present for 25-30mins with some time at the end for your personal questions. Students and parents will have the opportunity of being involved in several or many presentations, depending on your interests. Response from the Institutions has been excellent, and I would like to thank Mr. Terry McGann for his outstanding organization of the expo in trying circumstances.

2021 General Achievement Test – Postponed until Thursday August 12
The 2021 General Achievement Test (GAT) which was scheduled for Thursday, July 29, 2021 has been rescheduled to Thursday, August 12. The rescheduling of the GAT allows schools time to organise logistics and put in place COVID Safe protocols so the GAT can be delivered in line with relevant Health and Safety requirements.

Consideration of Educational Disadvantage for VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3-4
In recognition of the continued disruptions caused by COVID-19, the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage (CED) process will continue this year.

Consistent with last year, this process requires schools to provide VCAA with information on all students to help finalise VCE scores. The CED process will again consider all available information including examination results, the GAT, and appropriate comparisons of performance across all assessments and schools, which will contribute to fair and valid VCE study scores.

VCAL Special Consideration
Special consideration will also be available for final year VCAL students. More information and guidance for schools on how to apply special consideration for VCAL students will be provided by the VCAA shortly.

COVID Fatigue and Youth Mental Health
As the nation remains to be on alert and in various stages of lockdown, restrictions continue to be mandated. And we, as a society, persevere to do the best we can to navigate this post-COVID era. Whilst some of us quietly take comfort from the availability of vaccines, it does introduce new uncertainties for families and young people alike. We continue to remain in a state of suspended animation, wondering when “normal” will return.

The physical impact of the pandemic has mostly spared our young people; however researchers are now reporting that children and adolescents are paying a heavy emotional and developmental price, being affected by a range of psychological disorders. According to Kids Helpline, emergency interventions to protect young people have skyrocketed over the last 12 months.

Click here to access information from Dr Michael Carr-Gregg.

Parent Engagement in Learning
There is a significant amount of research that indicates the greater the level of parent engagement in learning, the better the student results. Research from John Hattie suggests that when the effect size of effective teachers is complemented with the effect size of engaged parents, the resulting effect size is above 0.8- or two-years’ achievement in one. This suggests that when parents and teachers work together the achievement of all students is greater. Parent participation can be seen as a continuum from involvement to engagement to empowerment.

Parental involvement

Parental Engagement

Parent Empowerment

Attendance at School Events


Volunteer opportunities such as working in the canteen, class reading etc.

Focused on learning

Especially in the home

Building capacity – skills, attitudes and beliefs

Parent Leadership

Increasing parents’ social capital through working in collaborative groups

Our statistics taken from our College website indicate that less than 30% of families open the newsletter every fortnight. The following strategies are suggested to increase parent engagement.

  • Authoritative Parenting – a balance between love and warmth and setting boundaries.
  • Know the value of education – parents model the behaviors of successful lifelong learners to their children
  • Have high expectations and aspirations – parents hold high expectations for their children, communicate a belief in their potential to achieve and discuss their child’s educational and career aspirations.
  • Family-led learning in the home – linking schoolwork with current events, discussing learning strategies with your child and making connections between their current effort and achievement of future goals of employment or further study.
  • Becoming engaged and staying engaged throughout their schooling – regular talk about school and the value of learning throughout schooling, particularly at transition points.
  • Family-school communication – schooling is relationship based and requires quality two-way communication and meaningful dialogue between home and school.