High Notes, Vol 20 No 34, November 01 2019

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From the Principal

Valé Murray Guest

The news of the accidental death of Mr Murray Guest, Headmaster of The Armidale School, has shocked and deeply saddened the AAGPS community. Murray has been a dynamic and much-admired leader of TAS since 1998.The TAS community is devastated and grief stricken. Our deepest condolences are extended to Joanne, Murray’s wife, and to their children Annelise and Harry. On Tuesday afternoon, Mr Alan Jones, acting Headmaster, released a statement confirming that Mr Guest had been involved in a fatal single vehicle accident on the Waterfall Way. Apparently, his car left the road, hit a tree and burst into flames.

Murray was a gracious host to thousands of High students at our annual TAS sporting visits. Basketball in the gym and hot chocolate before bed. Our staff were always warmly welcomed on Friday evening with drinks and nibbles around a large log fire. Murray personally mentored my daughter, Sophie, at the forensic science camps that TAS ran in school holidays.

Murray’s legacy as a leader is assured by his transitioning the school into co-education in 2016. Throughout his tenure as Head, Murray moved TAS forward with curriculum innovation, a development office to raise funds and community engagement programs. The building projects he managed over many years have transformed the site. He strengthened vocational education with the Technology Centre and nurtured indigenous enrolments. Invariably, he focussed on the learning needs of his students. His leadership was insightful and impactful.

I admired Murray for his intellect, his strength of character, his affability, his calm demeanour, his sense of humour and his ability to ‘disagree without being disagreeable.’ He stood tall among GPS Heads. He will be sadly missed.

Mandatory Minimum Standard Online Tests

In order to meet the HSC Minimum Standard at Level 3 or 4 in short online reading, writing and numeracy tests of skills for everyday life, Year 10 students will take these three tests in Week 6, the week after their yearly examinations. With this necessary commitment and the Life Ready Course it is imperative that families do NOT plan to take early extended travel leave in term 4. It will be difficult for students to do make up tests and tasks. Consequently, their individual responsibilities to comply will drag on into Year 11 in 2020. Ms Taryn Evans, who coordinated this year’s NAPLAN Tests, has kindly offered to coordinate the Minimum Standard Tests for the school.

New Curriculum Offerings To Be Trialled In 2020

At High we are always trying to anticipate and meet the learning needs of our students. After the recent success of Online Learning and Game Design for Year 10 students, we thought we might follow the lead of other schools with successful electives, and introduce two new ones. Acceleration in the HSC IPT course has not been offered as a gifted education program at High for 15 years.

We are reintroducing it as a Year 9 – Year 10 intervention, instead of the customary Year 10 – Year 11 format. This arrangement puts extra strain on teachers and students who have to master the content scheduled for 11 periods per cycle over two years, when they only have 7 periods in Year 9 and 10 in Year 10. A significant amount of time will have to be made up through offline scheduling of additional classes. Mr Boland has had experience in teaching this course successfully at another selective school and he will take the first cohort of 24 students sitting for the course. A large number of applicants have been culled by HT of IA Ms Dam to get down to the maximum number permitted in stage 6 studies. I wish all the new IPT boys well for their first tilt at a stage 6 course. Parents are advised that a ‘safety net’ exists for Year 9 students who cannot cope with the course. At the end of Year 10, boys could start over and just do twelve units like most of the cohort.

Philosophy is a NESA Endorsed Course that is very popular at North Sydney Girls High, where the Philosophy teacher wrote and had the course approved for teaching in stage 5. We have a select group of Year 10 students who are interested in completing this course, so we will pilot it in 2020.
Dr K A Jaggar
Principal

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