From the Principal - Mr Chris Caldow Vol 9

Return to Face to Face Learning
Our Years 11 and 12 students recommenced face to face learning on Friday, 4 June and the remainder of our students will recommence tomorrow Friday,11 June. It has been great to have staff and students back and we are grateful to all parents and guardians for their efforts throughout the period of remote learning. Year 10 Exams will be face to face on Friday, 11 June if Years 7-10 students resume onsite on this day.

Year 9 PBL
The Year 9 PBL presentation night has been postponed from this Wednesday, 9 June to Wednesday, 16 June 6.00p.m.- 7.00p.m. so that we have time when we return to prepare the teachers and students for this night.

2021 General Achievement Test – to be rescheduled
The 2021 General Achievement Test (GAT) scheduled for Wednesday, 9 June 2021 will be rescheduled to a date to be determined. We expect this to be in coming weeks.

Face masks
Secondary school students aged 12 or older must always wear a face mask at school, including when attending an Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) program, unless an exception applies. Face masks are mandatory for all school students aged 12 or older when travelling to and from school. To support the health and wellbeing of all students and staff, our school will continue an enhanced cleaning routine and will encourage frequent handwashing. If your child is ill or is feeling unwell, they must not attend school. They must remain home and seek medical advice

Deputy Principal – Head of the Broadmeadows Campus
As many of you are aware, Mr Ernie Pisani has made the decision to retire as of the end of 2021 and we will attempt to acknowledge the enormous contribution that he has made in his time at Penola Catholic College at the end of this year. I have advertised the Deputy position externally on Friday, 28 May. The contract will be for 5 years (2022- 2026). I am hoping for a good field of applicants and will be interviewing for this role in the middle of June.

Ernie is also taking weeks 2 – 9 of Term 3 off as Long Service Leave and Ms Liviana Daniele has been appointed to replace him as Head of Campus during this time.

Staff News

  • Ms Erin Bonavia (Year 12 Coordinator) commences her maternity leave on Tuesday, 15 June and we wish her well for the impending birth. Her Year 12 Psychology class will be taught by Mrs Belinda Carbone for the remainder of the year. Erin’s Year 12 Health and Human Development class will be taught by Mrs Katherine Jones. Erin’s instructional coach role will be taken over by Mr Steve Woodburn and her Year 12 RE class will be picked up by Mr Luke Vraca.
  • Miss Claire Kennett has resigned from her position as a part-time VCAL teacher as she has accepted a full-time position teaching at Strathmore Secondary College. Mrs Sue Lombardo has been appointed as her replacement for the remainder of the year.
  • Ms Erika Caprile has resigned from her position as a part-time Italian Language Assistant. Mr Fabrizio Capigatti has now been appointed as the new Italian Language Assistant.
  • Mr James Mein has resigned as one of our Youth Ministers as he pursues a new career as an apprentice electrician. We are not replacing this role at this time as we review our Faith & Mission Team.
  • Ms Danielle Prescott has been appointed as Year 12 Coordinator for the remainder of the year to replace Ms Erin Bonavia.
  • Mrs Andrea London has extended her maternity leave for the remainder of the year and Miss Natalie Presutti will continue to replace Andrea whilst she is on maternity leave.
  • Mrs Photini Zafiropoulos resumes at the start of Term 3 after her Carer’s leave for 2 days a week and Ms Judy Matthews will continue for the other two days a week.
  • Ms Jenny Carroll is returning at the start of Term 3 after taking the past 6 months as Long Service Leave.

Child Information Sharing and Domestic Violence Reforms
Sharing information to support child wellbeing and safety

From 19 April 2021 (Term 2), all Victorian government and non-government schools and centre-based education and care services (e.g. long day care, kindergarten and outside school hours care) will be prescribed as Information Sharing Entities under the Victorian Government’s Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) and Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS).

These information sharing schemes have expanded the ability of schools and services to collaborate and share relevant confidential information with other authorised Information Sharing Entities to promote the wellbeing and safety of children, and to assess and manage family violence risk. Information can only be shared under the schemes by organisations prescribed as Information Sharing Entities.

The information sharing schemes were introduced in response to Royal Commissions, coronial inquests and independent inquiries over the past decade that identified poor information sharing as a barrier to service collaboration with detrimental outcomes for children and families.

Phase 1 of implementation of the schemes commenced in September 2018 and included key services, such as Child Protection, Maternal and Child Health Services and Victoria Police. From 19 April 2021, as part of Phase 2, universal services such as education and health will be authorised to share information using the schemes.

The information sharing schemes complement and expand upon existing information sharing and child protection laws, and do not replace already existing authorisation to share information such as the Child Safe Standards, reporting to Child Protection or Victoria Police, the Reportable Conduct Scheme, and other privacy and information sharing laws.

Further information regarding these whole-of-government reforms can be found on the Victorian Government website:

Annual report
The Annual report for 2020 is available on the College website. It provides an overview of the 2020 year for Penola Catholic College with reports from the five key areas of the College namely Education in Faith, Student Wellbeing, Learning and Teaching, Leadership and Management and Community. It also includes a report from myself as Principal and Mrs Alfina Astuto as Board Chair.

Year 10 Work Experience
The Year 10 Work Experience Program was scheduled to take place next week from Monday, 7 June to Friday, 11 June. Unfortunately, this event has had to be postponed until Term 3 due to the uncertainty associated with the most recent lockdown. Many thanks to Felicity Fox, Terry McGann, Elena Natoli, Peter Carpenter and Maria Rullo from the Careers Office for their work in finalising placements for students. Hopefully employers will be able to take on our students in Term 3.

PAVCSS Conference
I had the privilege of being involved with the PAVCSS Conference last week where Dr John Haught presented two sessions on “The Meaning of Faith in an Age of Science”. Dr John Haught is an American theologian and a Distinguished Research Professor at Georgetown University. He specializes in Roman Catholic systematic theology, with a particular interest in issues pertaining to physical cosmology, evolutionary biology, geology and Christianity. Unfortunately, the other two sessions had to be postponed as the announcement about the lockdown was imminent. These will be rescheduled to sometime later this month.

Seven things for a smooth transition back to face to face learning

  1. Regular Sleep habits – Sleep changes are a common effect of the recent times. Many of our students have become used to having a little sleep in and a later start to their morning routine. It is time to re-establish a more usual sleep cycle. Depending on how out of whack your daughter’s or son’s sleep has been, they should be adjusting their sleep cycle by going to bed earlier so that they can get up earlier.
  2. Reaching Out to Friends – One of the main things that helps us all transition back is knowing there is someone who is wanting to see us. We all look forward to catching up with good people and having some fun. Reaching out and making contact with school friends sets this up.
  3. Safe and Certain – The College has changed a number of practices to ensure that students are safe. We have provided hand sanitiser in every classroom as well as wipes and we have cleaners on site constantly cleaning and sanitising high traffic areas. We have set up the classrooms to maximise the physical distancing of students given the constraints of the room size and furniture. We are intent on keeping everyone safe and well and have planned as much as we can. for this outcome.
  4. Restart – We are providing a whole fresh start for all students. During these uncertain times, priorities and lives have been restructured. Social connections have changed. This may mean that we need to form new connections and to renew our attitude towards learning and success.
  5. Plan for Success – This year has changed more than any of us could have anticipated. We need to plan for success. For Senior Students, the risk is feeling that their year has got away from them and they cannot succeed. Clearly this is not true. Firstly, everyone in the State has experienced the same setbacks. Secondly, there is plenty of time to catch up and succeed.
  6. Less is more – It is understandable that people will feel in a rush to make up for the time and opportunities missed in the early part of the year. Given the upheaval of past months, rushing too much or putting too much in place too early is a recipe for exhaustion, disenchantment and disengagement. While we are back in business, easy does it. Taking our time now to slowly rebuild a sense of success will pay off. Take it slow and make it fun!
  7. Review – the imminent school holidays gives us the opportunity to reflect back on the process of re-integration. What were the pluses and minuses of the experience, what has worked well (as well as what hasn’t), and a re-assessment of what we think is going to help in the future.

Prayer for the next fortnight
Our country has just celebrated National Reconciliation Week and our world has celebrated International Children’s Day. There are many things to celebrate this week, but in particular, I would like to offer a brief prayer of thanksgiving that I have relied upon heavily, especially throughout the past year as we have suffered as a community, and as a nation, and as a world, in so many ways:

Loving Creator,

We asked for strength, and you gave us difficulties to make us strong.

We asked for wisdom, and you gave us problems to solve.

We asked for prosperity, and you gave us purpose and brains to use.

We asked for courage, and you gave us fears to overcome.

We asked for patience, and you gave us situations where we were forced to wait.

We asked for love, and you gave us troubled people to help.

We asked for justice, and you called us to be just and lead with integrity.

Lord, we have received nothing that we asked for or wanted.

And yet, we receive everything that we needed.

For this we give thanks.

From the Head of Campus Broadmeadows - Mr Ernie Pisani Vol 9

The start of a new semester (June 15) gives us all a chance to start afresh. This comes with an opportunity to reflect on the achievements, attitudes to school work and behavioural patterns that were set in semester one. It also gives us an opportunity to adjust or improve the things that may not have worked so well. One of the areas of concern is the number of days that some students are absent from school or late to school. Our college works hard to maintain good standards of attendance but over the course of a year we are surprised by the number of days that students can accumulate away from school. In many cases school absenteeism is generated by genuine reasons; however, there are many instances where the student simply isn’t interested in attending school on the day and convinces the parents not to send them. One of the concerns that we have here is that the student’s level of resilience is affected as well and the patterns of absenteeism increase.

We all want our students to get a great education, and the building blocks for a great education begin with students coming to school each and every day. Missing school can have a major impact on a child’s future. A student missing one day a fortnight will miss four full weeks by the end of the year. By Year 12 they’ll have missed a significant portion of school.

There is no safe number of days for missing school – each day a student misses puts them behind and can affect their educational outcomes. Coming to school every day is vital, but if for any reason your child must miss school, there are things we can do together to ensure they don’t fall behind:

Speak with the Homeroom teacher and find out what work your child needs to do to keep up.

Develop an Attendance Improvement Plan with the Year Level Coordinator.

Remember, every day counts. If your child must miss school, speak with the relevant Homeroom teacher as early as possible so we can work together to get your child to school every day.

Mobile phones

At the start of this new semester we also re-set the number of times that a student has breached the mobile phone policy. We pride ourselves on being as transparent as we can be over issues like this to ensure that there is no misunderstanding over what happens when a student chooses to ignore the mobile phone rules. Please refer to the process we apply for breaches of the mobile phone policy as per the table below:

Mobile phones and/or other personal digital devices (eg blue tooth headphones, smart watches) are banned and should be stored in locked lockers. This rule is also enforced on school related excursions, except when a staff member permits the use of the technology for educational purposes.

Students who refuse to hand the phone over to the staff member will incur the consequences of the next offence

First offence

The phone will be confiscated and taken to the Campus Office. If this is a first offence the student can collect it at the end of the day.

Second offence

The phone will be confiscated and placed in the office until the end of the day. A text message will be sent to the parents by the Campus Office telling them that on the next breach they will have to collect the phone

Third offence

The phone will be confiscated and placed in the office. The Campus Office staff will text the parent that they will be required to collect the phone

Fourth offence

The phone will be confiscated and placed in the office. Year level Coordinator will schedule a meeting with the parents for the phone to be returned. A Saturday Detention will be applied. Campus Office staff to record the

Wishing all students a successful Semester Two.

From the Head of Campus Glenroy - Mr Stuart Harrison Vol 9

The last two weeks has seen the Junior Campus placed in remote learning. While this unfortunate, unforeseen event was not how we would like to complete semester 1 the staff and students approached the situation with a degree of positivity. The staff have been amazing the way they have adapted to remote teaching giving their students attention and dedication. The students have been remarkable with the majority of students joining their classes and completing their work. With the announcement to a return to school this Friday I know we will enjoy retuning to the campus and a sense of routine.

Science Technology Engineering Art Maths (STEAM) Week

The last week of Term 2 will be our annual STEAM week at the Junior Campus. Students have already been given an understanding of the different projects available and have all selected based on their interest. On Tuesday of next week they will have an opportunity in the afternoon to begin their STEAM project with an introductory session. STEAM brings different disciplines together to produce a space where students can explore and be challenged.

Kind Regards,

Stuart Harrison

From the Head of Faith & Mission - Mr Robert Dullard Vol 9

Enhancing Catholic School Identity Survey (ECSI)
We would like to extend a huge thank you to all the parents who kindly gave up their time to complete the Enhancing Catholic School Identity Surveys (ECSI). The information gathered is utilised by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium on behalf of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) to determine an overview of our Catholic identity as a College and of our ability to further enhance it over the next school improvement cycle.

Congratulations to Mrs Katrina Potter, mother of James Potter (8C) on winning our ECSI Raffle.

Reloaded Youth Rally

Reloaded feat. Josh Angrisano – July 30, 4pm

Reloaded, Penola’s series of Youth Rallies, is finally back! And we are bringing an awesome evening of faith, fun and inspiration your way!

What is a youth rally? It’s an event like no other at Penola that’s put together just for our students – we’ve lined up an awesome guest speaker, gathered all our best games and organised some great live music so that you walk away better equipped to live out your faith to the fullest.

Our special guest for Term 3 is Josh Angrisano, a Hip Hop Artist from the U.S. who has performed for thousands both in Australia and overseas. Through his music and story, Josh will be sharing how we can live our lives as Modern Day Disciples.

Reloaded is for any Penola student from Year 7 to 12! We’ll be announcing more details about the event closer to the date, but for now please save the date and keep July 30 free! This is an event you do not want to miss!

For more information click here or please email Gil, the College Youth Minister at

Hope to see you there!

Performing Arts Camp

2021 Performing Arts Camp Report

On Friday 21 May, 75 excited students and staff left the grounds of Penola for the long anticipated 2021 Performing Arts Camp, at Rutherford Park, Blampied. Our Performing Arts Camp was cancelled last year due to the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, so for most students it has been a 2 year wait to be part of this unique and exciting camp experience. Performing Arts Camp is in essence two camps in one – Production Camp and Music Camp. Students who attend Performing Arts Camp are passionate about the performing arts – they love playing their instruments, singing, dancing and acting, and for the whole weekend, students live and breathe the performing arts. They love being with other students who have these same interests, and, in the process, they make new friendships too.

We arrived at Rutherford Park just after 4pm on the Friday. We had a brief camp meeting, moved our luggage to our cabins and went straight into rehearsals. Each morning, after breakfast, students and staff participated in a vocal warm up - an a cappella sea shanty, with full gusto, energy, and foot stomping! Throughout the weekend, the Junior and Senior Voices and Senior Concert Band worked tirelessly on new repertoire in preparation for upcoming concerts, and the Production Team worked on blocking scenes, learning scripts, learning dance numbers and sewing costumes. During breaks, some students continued to play their instruments, sing and dance, whilst others soaked up the beautiful weather and wonderful country landscape.

Performing Arts Camp would not be complete without our annual Red Faces on the Saturday night. This year, students performed hilarious comedy acts and displayed their talents with their music, drama and dance performances. We closed the camp on Sunday with a concert at the campsite, showcasing all our efforts and hard work over the weekend. It was truly amazing to hear each ensemble and to see how much was achieved over just one weekend.

The 2021 Performing Arts Camp was, without a doubt a most rewarding and memorable experience for everyone involved. I want to thank and congratulate all our students for building such a wonderful community and for making the camp a friendly, supportive and unforgettable experience for all. A big thank you also to all the staff who attended the Performing Arts Camp - thank you for your time, efforts, and enthusiasm in the lead up to and throughout the whole camp experience.

We were hoping to showcase all that we achieved on camp at our Performing Arts Variety Night, which was to be held on Wednesday 26 May (3 days after the camp). However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns we have regrettably postponed this concert to a later date.


VCAL - Food Security Network Program
As part of the Personal Development Skills course students have been researching and studying the reasons that lead to some sections of our community to go without food on a regular basis such as unemployment, mental health and lack of education. This involved researching organisations that exist that attempt to address this problem in our society.

Students developed a vegetable garden at the school through the Food Security Network (FSN) organisation headed by Chris Sayar. FSN has been created by teachers who are passionate about social justice and empowering young people to believe they can make a difference.

Once a fortnight Chris would work directly with staff and students teaching a range of skills about growing food and some aspects about the environment and nutrition. After three months of tending to the vegetable garden the crop was ready for harvest. Unfortunately harvesting had to take place during the last lockdown. To delay the harvest until students returned would have seen the crop go to seed and not usable. Twenty boxes of vegetables were loaded on to Chris’s trailer and delivered the same day to The Asylum Seekers Centre and FareShare. Both or these charity organisations do a fantastic job of providing meals to those who simply do not have the access to personal resources that we take for granted to feed ourselves.

Congratulations to all of the VCAL students and staff who participated in the FSN Program.

Debate Team

Just before lockdown, students travelled to Epping Secondary for the third round of the Victorian debating competition.

The VCE teams had a secret topic. This meant that students only had one hour of preparation and no electronic devices or teachers were permitted in the room as they developed their arguments. It was great to see students challenge themselves and enjoying the experience. I would like to take a moment to commend the VCE teams, as students used time during a busy assessment period to participate.

The D-grade team was tasked with arguing against free transport. The team walked away (excuse the pun) with another victory which is the third win for the Year 9s. Congratulations to Isla Rousakis who was awarded best speaker for the second time.

Here is a reflection from one of the VCE team members, Jackson Garrett:

Participating in the Penola Debating team is a way of learning that requires rapid and meaningful brainstorming coupled with powerful, convincing and well-structured debating. I have learned many lessons from my time on the team that connects with oral presentations, time management and team building skills. Most importantly, I believe that by contributing to the Debating team I have been equipped with the skills to look at a situation with an unbiased opinion thus allowing me to formulate reasonable viewpoints according to my allocated affirmative or negative position. 

Term 2 School Fee Payment

Please ensure payment has been made for Term 2 School Fees. (Payment is due at the beginning of each Term.)

As previously advised, School Fee Statements are now sent by email. If you are not receiving your Statements please contact us to update your email address.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your account please contact Lisa Crosbie or email

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PCC Newsletter Volume 9 - 10 Jun. 2021