From the Principal

Welcome to Week Six of Term Three. As we enter the second half of this term, this is a very important time for all of us, but especially for our senior students. Our Year 12 boys have eight school weeks left, a very short amount of time to get things right. This weekend we enjoyed a mid-semester break, which I hope provided our students the perfect opportunity to catch up on any work they have let slip, and to reassess their goals for the remainder of the year.

A week ago the Year 8 boys were able to enjoy a week break from classes as they participated in their Retreat, and Medieval and Environmental days back here at school. Reports indicate that all went well in spite of the weather, which was pretty ordinary. Reports filtering back also suggest that the boys were quite remarkable, given that a number of the planned activities had to be cancelled due to the weather, which is a real credit to them. Thanks to the Mr Craig Giles and the team for giving up their own time to ensure the boys enjoyed their camp.

Last week the Year 10 boys had the pleasure of enjoying a night of dance with the Year 10 girls from Sacred Heart. They had a wonderful night on Thursday night, and I would like to compliment them on their behaviour. The College wishes to thank Mrs Rhea Beurs for all her planning and organisation, and all the other staff who attended on the evening, ensuring this great social event could take place.

On Tuesday of last week, staff and students celebrated the feast of the Assumption in House groups, with all gatherings reporting that the boys entered into the celebrations with the reverence expected on such occasions. We would like to thank Mrs Sarah Roberts, Mrs Nadia Knight and their team of helpers for putting the masses together, as well as the priests who celebrated the masses and all the staff for their supervision.

I would like to thank and congratulate Ms Irene Apostolopoulos and the science team for all the planning and preparation that went into Science Week last week. There were quizzes, activities and problems to solve, providing all the boys the opportunity to share their knowledge and enjoy the challenges Science Week provided.

I read an article once which outlined the difference loving parents can make to their child’s learning outcomes, based on educational research. The author argued that while traditional forms of parent involvement in schools are important; such as attending school functions, checking homework and having rules about how children spend their leisure time, more indirect and warmer kinds of at-home involvement; such as parental expectations, parent-child communication and parenting style are more important to student achievement.

According to the research the ‘effect size’ of parent attendance at school functions and establishing rules for household study is only about .12, while the effect sizes of parental expectations for school grades and accomplishments is .88 at the secondary level.

The types of expectations that have the greatest impact are subtle but understood by the child, such as parental guidance to plan for the child’s further education, low-stress communication, and a general agreement between the child and the parents on the value of further education.

These expectations are there day after day, week after week, communicating a supportive but scholarly atmosphere in the home on which other aspects of parental involvement can be established.

The two other subtle forms of parental involvement are less powerful than expectations, but still have more impact than traditional forms of involvement. Parents who are supportive and encouraging have the effect sizes of .40 for secondary children, and loving communication between parents and children has effect size .32 at the secondary levels.

The underlying factor here is time spent with children and clearly communicating love and support. Playing board games, watching movies, sports, fishing and miniature golf may not be directly related to scholarly pursuits, but they are crucial facets of parent involvement.

College staff can sometimes see parent involvement in traditional terms. With good intentions, we tell parents that homework help, household rules, and attending school functions are the best ways to improve academic achievement.

Parental love (more than any other quality) explains the success of parental involvement. Building loving bonds with children is an irreplaceable means of creating a foundation of love, which is pivotal to the success of young people in school and in life.

Involvement in school activities in themselves, unless accompanied by love, may have limited impact on children’s academic achievement and well-being. Of course, loving parents often demonstrate their love and concern by their involvement in school activities but, as noted above, parents can be warm and caring but rarely seen at school.

Acknowledgement: “The Salience of the Subtle Aspects of Parental Involvement and Encouraging That Involvement: Implications for School-Based Programs” by William Jeynes in Teachers College Record, March 2010

I would like to acknowledge that I witness this kind of love and support regularly amongst our families, which probably goes some way to explaining why our boys are strong achievers. With this in mind I encourage all parents to be active in their son’s education. I remind you all that it is never too late to start. We can never offer too much love and support; however, we need to be mindful that our support is not blind to the fact that all our kids are prone to make the odd poor choice. We need to teach them to take responsibility for their actions, all the while walking alongside them through any difficulties they may face.

Mr Rob Brennan