Message From the Principal

Welcome to week six of Term 2 which signals the half way mark of the term. Whilst we are less than a week away from winter we are yet to see any sign of the chilly mornings or the cold overcast days that we are accustomed to at this time of the year. My advice is to enjoy the mild weather whilst it’s here.

We have had some very exciting events over the past two weeks with more to come. Last Friday, around 90 students and staff participated in the inaugural sleep out at Salesian College Chadstone to raise awareness about homelessness. The students learnt first-hand the difficulties many in our community face every day. The boys gained a lot from the experience.

Last week we had the parent teacher interviews for our Unit 3 & 4 students.  I hope the feedback they received will help them as they work their way through a very important part of the school year. A number of boys have been identified as not fully committing to their studies and I hope that they will take on board the advice offered to them by their teachers and knuckle down for the remainder of the year to ensure they achieve results befitting their talents and gifts.

This week we celebrated the Autumn Concert on Wednesday evening and on Friday we welcome our 2015 Year 7 cohort for Becchi morning where they will be officially welcomed as Salesian College Chadstone students.
This time of year becomes quite hectic for our senior students as they complete what must seem, at times, a never-ending barrage of learning outcomes. Whilst most of our boys cope well. there are some who begin to drown in the workload. My experience tells me that the major contributor to the struggles of students, especially during busy or peak times, is their lack of organisation. The sad fact about this is that we can all teach our kids to be more organised.
We are all aware of the children that seem fated to always have a schoolbag full of dog-eared scraps of paper, overdue library books, outdated school notices, stale remnants of lunch, and a dirty sneaker. It is no coincidence that these same messy students often under-achieve at school and find it almost impossible to meet deadlines.
They lack the organisational skills we all need to get through our busy, complex days. Many children never develop these skills during their schooldays and struggle in their first years at university or in a job.
One of the best things we can do for them is to teach them some basic organisational skills. Simple things, such as ways they can organise their paperwork, getting started on time on tasks, keep track of books and assignments, concentrate on what needs to be done, plan for deadlines and keep all their school stuff in designated spaces. An impossible task? Not with modern technology, colour-coded folders, a desk and shelves at home and a weekly plan for what lies ahead.
Some ideas we can suggest for you is to make use of electronic devices such as mobile phones and internet programmes to organise a calendar, send reminders, and sound the alarm. Boys especially are amenable to using electronic means of organisation and can base their whole life around their organisers. Link into PAM on the college website: this parent portal allows you to see what assignments are due, identifies tasks that have to be done and assists your son to plan his time efficiently.
Both girls and boys are likely to go into jobs where they are expected to use sophisticated message and calendar systems which are well within their capabilities at school.
Keeping a large, clear family calendar in a visible place like the kitchen and using different coloured pens for each member of the family, or better still have your son create one of his own which has all his commitments including family, sporting, recreation and of course his social events. Have this put in a place where he sees it every day; over his desk is perfect. This will enable him to learn how to organise himself. It is common for boys to procrastinate, believing they have far more time than they actually have to complete a task, in particular long term tasks. Having a calendar outlining all his commitments will remind him that the Sunday evening he is planning to do that assignment is actually Grandma’s birthday and he will be expected to visit her whether he likes it or not.
Keep a filing shelf with a coloured folder for each subject or dividers to keep all his subject notes separate. Talking with your son about his week ahead and what work he has to complete can help order his thoughts. Help him devise a system to file all notices, assignments, and important material for easy access.
Helping create routines such as these can be very powerful in helping kids get organised and the sooner they are able to get into good routines the better they will be able to cope with the demands of their senior years of study. Establish daily routines for mealtimes, screen time, homework, leisure, and bedtimes so your children already have a structure to their day. Spend a set time every day checking on dates and deadlines.
Discuss classroom routines with your children’s teacher so you can follow and reinforce them at home. Discuss ways the teacher thinks your son could work to improve organisation skills. Share your own planning and organisation tips. What applies to work, usually works well with school too. Getting organised is not something we can learn overnight, it takes years of practice and the sooner we address the issue, the better it is going to be for our kids. Good luck.

Have a great week and God bless.

Robert Brennan