High Notes, Vol 17 No 1, February 05 2016

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From the Principal

Welcome to Term 1
Welcome to new staff, parents and students and welcome back to those who helped make the High experience so rewarding in 2015. We hope to really bed down the innovations of 2015 in response to our School Plan (2015-17):  maximising potential, improving literacy, enhancing teaching, our performance development program and our changes in assessment and reporting in the Junior School.  Our RAP analysis of HSC responses to individual questions shows a cross-faculty comparative weakness in extended responses that are unstructured. Our staff are going to try to improve this area of learning over the next two years.

Into our LOTE faculty we welcome Ms Catherine Hicks teaching French. Xanon Shirley is replacing Courtney Powell in drama. Lynnea Stewart is replacing Bonnie Collignon in visual arts who will be on maternity leave soon. Eric Choy is replacing Jacqui Chen who is on maternity leave. In English John Beringer is back for another block until the end of term 1, filling in for Marina Trompetter. In coming weeks, we will be making three staff appointments by merit selection: HT Teaching and Learning, HT English and 0.8 FTE Social Sciences teacher. We also welcome back Ellen Huttly who is replacing Andrew Nguyen as the SAO for pays.

High Talent
Despite intermittent inclement weather, our swimming carnival was completed on Monday, with many boys participating. New school records were set by William Lee (Rubie) 14 years – 100m freestyle 1’01.9 & 50m breaststroke 0’34.78; James Luo (McKay) 50m butterfly 0’31.69; and Nathan Wang (Rubie) 0’41.78. Congratulations to those boys and to everyone who competed at the carnival. Well done to Mr Loizou for his organisation. Our boys placed 3rd in the GPS 4 x 100m medley relay, behind Shore and Scots.

New Students Welcome
My speech at the welcome assembly for Year 7 and new students is reprinted below.

"On behalf of all our extended High community – teachers, support staff, cleaners, coaches, Old boys and volunteers – I extend a warm welcome to all new students this morning. As we start the 2016 academic year. I look forward to a year in which we can at least reach the very high standard set last year by the Class of 2015. Tackle the task with confidence. This morning we are enacting our ritual of honouring new students who have joined the High community. As custodians of the High culture we uphold the rite of passage - clapping-in Year 7. This is a public, community-wide acknowledgement and recognition of the previous academic success of each student who earns a place at High. You were all selected by means of a rigorous entrance test. We understand that each one of you is an academically gifted individual with a unique suite of natural abilities. Our task is to galvanise these natural abilities into talented performances in several areas of school life.

"To the new students joining us in Years 8, 9 and 11, I extend a special welcome to you from the High family. You were selected because of your all-round achievements in secondary school so far. You have demonstrated talent in a variety of activities or excellence in one and competence in others. We welcome you and expect you to add value to the High culture. You have a great opportunity to establish yourselves at our school by quickly getting involved in the co-curricular program. I urge you not to waste time waiting and watching. Get involved. Don’t stick to only what you are good at. You need to grasp every opportunity. Get organised and be prepared to work really hard. Set yourself incremental academic goals and strive to achieve them. Lots of people are ready to help you.

"We have a school-wide BYOD policy. Information and communication technology is increasingly integrated into the daily life of our school. Use your device and your researching privileges responsibly. Our teachers will be endeavouring to work closely with you to find out more about your preferred learning style and individual needs. We will be trying to improve your learning. We will be ‘fussy about focus’ in order to get more out of each lesson. We will need you to pay attention and participate, not hide in your own world of recorded music or in a virtual world within an iPhone or iPad. We expect that you will participate positively and relate respectfully in all your classes.

"We will expect excellence from you not just adequate work. We ‘care about compliance’ – do all the work that is set for you. Our teachers will be concentrating on consistency in completing tasks in class and at home to the required standard. We are dedicated trustees of our reputation and success at High. Together, if we work hard and help each other, we can maintain and enhance our excellent outcomes.

"I expect that you will all adopt our all-rounder culture and take advantage of activities at High.  We want you to work hard, train hard and play hard. We will also expect you to give some of your time and effort back into school and community service. Our High ritual comes full circle with a clapping-out of Year 12 at their final assembly. By then we will all acclaiming the person you have become. By then you will be celebrating your growth and achievement as learners. By then you will realise how fast your time at High seemed to go. We will be honouring boys who have become men.

"I expect all students to involve themselves in co-curricular activities - the Student Awards Scheme identifies the main ones available. Sport is a very important part of life at High. Our traditional involvement in GPS and CHS competitions makes us unique. Sport training is offered on at least two afternoons. Membership of our weights room is excellent value for money. My strong expectation is that you will play competition sports on Saturdays. Participating in GPS competition is an integral component of our ethos. We focus on team sports for educational reasons – group cooperation, team building, goal setting, collaboration, time management, grit development and motivation skills – these are most necessary in modern work contexts. We are trying to nurture ‘future earning skills’: problem solving, evaluating information, working in teams, communicating ideas and fostering creativity and innovation. Year 7 boys will have an assessment of these skills in various contexts included in their semester reports. For each boy we want to build: positive emotions about High, engagement with High programs, respectful relationships with everyone, meaning in all we do and a sense of accomplishment for sustained effort. At school and in class show your teachers, peers, all staff members and volunteers in activities the respect they deserve. Ask them for help. Be responsible for your own learning. The pursuit of excellence is a lifelong discipline. Let’s pursue our goals hard but have fun, too. I wish you all a happy and prosperous life at High." 

Early Bird Discounts
In order to help all areas of the school we offer a substantial discount to parents who pay all their invoices in full before 26 February. It is not only a great demonstration by them of their commitment to the ethos of the school but also it’s an encouragement for others to follow their lead and it helps to create a critical mass of financial support for our programs. The annual cash contribution by the DOE finances less than one quarter of our programs at High. The rest comes from the support of parents and the efforts made by School family volunteers, helping out in fund raising. Having substantial funds early in the year allows us to make sure that capital works are completed in the holidays, orders are made promptly and that the boys get the maximum benefit out of equipment and services deployed for them this year.  Quality services, extra staff and high standards come at a price. A very large number of parents see the package as value for money and contribute in full. Last year, 567 families (47.33%), saw the benefit of supporting the school in all of its activities early in the year and thereby earned the discount. We thanked them for their support and reset our target to attract 50% of parents this year. Let’s carry on High’s self-help culture to make sure we achieve our goals for your sons in 2016 and beyond!

Weights Room Policy 2016
High’s weights room offers exceptional value for money. The room has appropriate equipment for preparing the bodies of teenage boys. Crucially, it is constantly supervised by one of our strength and conditioning coaches. When handling weights, technique is vitally important and boys need to learn the correct way to lift. Kurt Rich, our Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, is a well-credentialed and experienced trainer. His presence ensures that the boys are training safely and sensibly. So as well as getting gym facilities, clients have a supervisor and adviser to help them during their unlimited visits. Costs for this service are held down to a minimum and reduced by boys taking out a full year’s membership. For 2016, a full year Weights Room membership costs just $231. Boys wishing to have full year membership must register and pay by 26 February 2016. No payments will be accepted after that date until term 2.

This year no term memberships will be offered.  Boys who restart after absences of a term in the Weights Room have to be retrained by Kurt when he should be concentrating on existing members. Boys will have another opportunity to sign up for the weights room at the beginning of term 2. The cost will be $200 for the rest of the year. No further membership opportunities will be offered.
Dr K A Jaggar

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