Headmaster’s Message – July 28, 2016

July 27, 2016

Dear Parents, Guardians, Friends and Students of St Patrick’s College,

On Monday afternoon, the College Staff attended an Online Safety presentation by Ray Nasher. The focus of the presentation for staff was to provide some insights into the types of difficulties that young people can unknowingly become involved in through providing personal details online, or by sharing information for others to access. It also provided an overview of the types of violence and explicit content that are contained within various games on the market.

The staff session was followed by an evening with parents which canvassed the same presentation.

As parents and guardians will be aware, the College is currently strengthening some protocols to support the students in the appropriate use of iPads. These include:

  • Ensuring that all apps on the fifth row of the iPad are for school related purposes as per the instructions sent out to students (please see the following link: http://ipads.stpats.vic.edu.au/term-3-2016-setup-requirements.html)

  • Ensuring that non-approved apps are deleted permanently including Snapchat, Instagram, Kik and Tumblr

  • Ensuring that the use of the iPad is for educational purposes only during class time.

  • Ensuring that personal content on your iPad is appropriate at all times

  • Ensuring that storage space for school related content is a priority.

  • Ensuring that any inappropriate images/videos/memes that you have stored on your iPad either in your camera roll or other apps are to be deleted.

  • Ensuring that any Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are deleted permanently.

  • Ensuring that hidden files are deleted. Full use of the iPad is to be completely transparent, therefore any app designed to hide photos, videos, text messages, documents etc are to be deleted from your iPad permanently. This includes, but is not limited to apps such as Lock Photos, Private Photo, iVault, Secret Calculator, Album Lock and The Vault.

In order to further support all students in the appropriate use of their iPads, teachers will be conducting spot checks on all devices. – All students are being asked to meet these expectations from now on.

Of course, strengthening protocols around use of iPads is just one part of developing a healthy approach to the use of online technology. We recognise as a staff that the world of online digital citizenship is a reality for every young person, and we must help and encourage our students in their use. What is most important is that we continue to work with every student around values education: spending time with students discussing why appropriate use of technology and online social media is so important and how to prevent being placed at risk.

Specifically, we need to continue the conversation of how misuse affects people and their interactions with others. One of Ray Nasher’s comments really resonated with me: what we do in private determines how we are with people. This is a profound statement. We want each of our boys to develop a strong and positive sense of their identity and the world around them, based around respect for self and respect for others.

As a College, we are committed to this journey and conversation with each student in our care.

We also recognise the importance that parents and guardians play in assisting us to encourage appropriate online use and education. Therefore, we request that, in line with the recommendations above, you also check your son’s iPad and laptop frequently, and that you initiate, where appropriate and possible, conversations around the healthy use of online technology.

Together, students, staff and parents and guardians, we are a powerful combination.

Finally, I look forward to another great weekend of our boys representing the College with distinction on the sporting fields. Best of luck to our 1st XV rugby team as they prepare to host Marcellin College in the VSRU Division 1 semi-final on Saturday. Our boys have played exceptional rugby this season and are looking to reach their second consecutive grand final over the coming weeks. We are very proud of each of you. I want to also acknowledge all of the students involved in our Rugby program for the way they have conducted themselves over the duration of the season, as well as our Director of Rugby Mr Michael Murphy and our dedicated coaches.

And, of course, best of luck to our 1st XVIII football players as they take to the field at the MCG on Saturday to contest the Grand Final of the Herald Sun Shield. Our boys will take on St Joseph’s College from Geelong in a game which will be played as the curtain raiser to the Collingwood vs West Coast match. Our match starts at 1.50pm with gates to the ground opening at 1.30pm. We are encouraging all members of the SPC community to aim to purchase their tickets through Ticketek to sit in either M1 or M2 in the Great Southern Stand (entry through Gate 4). We are chasing our seventh premiership in a row and know that, whatever the result, our boys will be fine ambassadors for the College.

Finally, this week on Thursday St Patrick’s College hosted the Deputy Principal’s from other EREA schools throughout Victoria and Tasmania. The meeting commenced with a beautiful prayer led by four of our senior students. I enclose this prayer below as a reminder to each of us of the special gift we all share as members of this wonderful community of St Patrick’s College.

It is in Community That We Lead-¦..

We exist to be miracle workers to one another. It is in community that we are called to grow. It is in community that we come to see God in the other. It is in community that we see our own emptiness filled up. It is community that calls me beyond the pinched horizons of my own life, my own country, and gives me the gifts I do not have within me-¦ the function of community is to enable us to be about something greater than ourselves. A spirituality of community calls for an open mind and an open heart-¦minds open to the shattering implications of the Scriptures. (Joan Chittister, How Shall We Live 2006)

Have a great weekend.

Mr John Crowley