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Community News – 21 March 2019

Parent Focus Group

Thank you to all parents who attended our Term 1 meeting. We enjoyed a tour of the Performing Arts building at the Officer Campus and then explored Positive Learning Partnerships from a parent perspective. Parents are a part of the fabric of St Francis Xavier College and we continue to build respectful relationships focused on student achievement. We shared many ideas on how parents can support their sons/daughters and staff. By working together, we can ensure a positive educational experience for every student.

We look forward to expanding the group and hope that more parents will join us. Meetings are held once per term. Please register your interest with Jennie Laukart


Parent Reflection

Earlier in the year a number of families attended our High Achievers assembly in honour of the class of 2018. I hope you enjoy reading the parent reflection written by Karen and John Hughes.


Year 12 is a year full of lasts.

Last first day of school, last athletics carnival, last St Francis Xavier day, last class with your friends, last class with your favourite teacher. The list goes on.

As we sit watching our youngest of four receive her graduation certificate at our last school graduation ceremony I find myself thinking about all these lasts. Why are they significant? Why do we post such moments on social media nowadays? The answer I have is because the ‘last’ signifies all that has preceded it. Our time at Saint Francis Xavier College has been a wonderful and memorable experience.

From the time our eldest stepped into the school as a Year 7 in his crisp white shirt to the time our youngest stepped out at the end of Year 12 in a slightly faded dress, we have enjoyed being part of the St Francis Xavier College community.

It has been 10 years of learning, commitment, fun, involvement, enjoyment, community support, dedication, friendship and success. We have loved being school parents with all that it brings. Our children have received a wonderful all round education that will take them far. Each of them enjoyed six good years at the school with Year 12 being their happiest and most enjoyable year of all. Leaving with a great education, great memories and great friends.

Our kids particularly enjoyed all the sporting events offered to them such as lunchtime house sports, athletics carnivals and cross country days. They participated in the presentation balls, school formals and systems engineering projects. Learning valuable life lessons through programs such as outward bound and tournament of the minds. We found teachers went above and beyond what their job required resulting in our kids thriving.

At St Francis Xavier College our children were immersed in their Catholic faith, which was very important to us. They saw pastoral care at its best and had the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

As parents we placed our trust in those that were educating our children and our children did the same. Over the years we attended many, many student progress meetings. It was a decision that enabled relationships to build, opened up lines of communication and gave us tools essential for our child’s learning which benefited all.

It is for all these reasons that we have cherished our time and involvement with the school.

We believe St Francis Xavier College truly provides an education that opens the door of opportunity.

When you’re sitting at your child’s Year 12 St Francis Xavier College graduation and pondering the lasts, I hope you too are thinking of the wonderful education your kids have received and the wonderful time you have had at the College.


Parent Education Evening

Mental health does not discriminate. It’s about being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy in the way we think, feel and develop relationships. It is a really tough subject and it can be very challenging to start the conversation, but the good news is, Casey Cardinia Libraries is starting the conversation for you and providing a safe and supportive space at Bunjil Place. Hear from the editor and founder of Parent Guides, Eileen Berry, with special guests from headspace and PoPsy, as they inform and spark open, honest and meaningful conversations about how to better manage mental health and emotional well-being. Click here for more details.


Date: Thursday 28 March 2019

Time: 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Venue: Bunjil Place Studio

Running Time: 90 minutes

Tickets: FREE – Bookings essential


Parent Engagement

St Francis Xavier College offers many opportunities for parents to be actively involved and to immerse themselves in College life. We have hosted many events: guest speaker Brett Lee, VCE/VCAL Information Evening, Maths Pathways, Multicultural Evening, Parent Focus Group, Presentation Ball launch and so on.

You are warmly invited to hear Dr Justin Coulson on April 3 at 7.00pm in the Beaconsfield Campus Hall. Dr Justin Coulson is one of very few people in Australia with a PhD in Positive Psychology – and the ONLY person in the country (and almost the world) whose PhD includes a careful look at the intersection of Positive Psychology and relationships, particularly in family life.

An email will soon be sent out with more details and a booking link.


Bushfire Assistance

As you are aware, many families have been impacted by the recent fires. We are keen to provide hampers/goods in partnership with St Vincent De Paul for delivery to families in Tonimbuk.

With Easter approaching there is little money to purchase treats/chocolate. However, as a priority we wish to donate pamper packs. These could include shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash, hand lotions etc. We would love to hand these over to staff at the Pakenham SVDP during the last week of term.

Please send items along to the College with your son/daughter. Alternatively, you may drop off items to the Front Office at any campus.


Wellbeing Tips

Parents often ask about social media and the use of personal devices. You may find the article by Martine Oglethorpe useful. Please read below.


There are better questions than ‘How much screen time?’

Technology and Parenting

by Martine Oglethorpe


‘How much time should my child be allowed in front of a screen?’, ‘What about my five-year-old?’, ‘How long should I let my 13-year-old play Fortnite?’ As a digital wellness and online safety expert, these are some of the questions I am most frequently asked.

They are certainly all relevant questions as parents fumble about trying to make rules and boundaries around their child’s screen time habits. Obviously we all want to prevent the screen time obsessions we hear about in the media. We want to maintain a sense of control over our child’s screen time habits.

As the digital world is far more complex and nuanced, our approach and questions need to mirror those complexities. We can certainly apply some time limits, and prescribe times when devices are not to be used. But it’s wise to ask more pertinent questions to help us make more informed choices about the rules and boundaries we set up for our kids.

In particular, there are three important questions we should ask. These are:

  1. What is my child doing with his or her screen?

There’s no point worrying about how long your child is on a screen if you have no idea what they are doing when they’re on it. Handing a child a device without guidance can lead to a vast range of different experiences. One child might spend the time researching the dietary habits of a green tree frog, or learning how to make the best paper plane to fly with a younger sibling. Another might watch a funny cat video, or even watch hard-core pornography. These are vastly different ways to spend their time online.

  1. What is the effect of the screens on my child?

Is your child enjoying socialising online because it allows them deeper connections with their friends, provides them with support and gives them a sense of belonging? Alternatively, is he or she feeling excluded or being cyberbullied? A child’s online experiences can help or hinder wellbeing. If online activities lead to tantrums when transitioning to offline tasks, or even aggression then it may be a sign that online use is having a negative impact.

  1. What is my child missing out on?

Children and teens benefit from involvement in a wide range activities so they can maintain optimum physical, social and emotional development. Spending time outdoors, enjoying active sports, connecting face-to-face with friends, sharing family meals, keeping up with homework and assisting with household chores are the types of activities that most experts agree are beneficial for children and young people. If the amount of time a child spends on digital devices excludes him or her from these types of activities then it can be considered excessive. If this is the case, then it’s reasonable to expect that, with your assistance, your child begins to place some limits on their screen use.

Digital devices present new challenges for parents to manage. As a result parents need to shift the focus away from simply managing a child’s time to helping him or her successfully integrate screen use into their daily life in ways that support learning, development and wellbeing.


Martine Oglethorpe

Martine Oglethorpe is an accredited speaker with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and has presented to numerous parent groups, schools and teachers. She is a speaker, counsellor and educator with a passion for building resilient kids in a digital world.

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