High Notes, Vol 17 No 11, April 29 2016

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From the Principal

High Talent
Congratulations to James Siu (10M) who is representing Australia in the SEA Cadet & Junior Fencing Championships at Pasig City, Philippines in late May. A fine achievement, James! Campbell Green (9S) has been selected in the NSW U16 basketball team. Well done, Campbell! Thomas Shortridge (12R) has been selected in the NSW Debating Team to compete at the Australian Schools National Debating Championships. An impressive effort, Thomas! Kurt Rich (MIC Rowing, MIC Athletics) our strength and conditioning coach, was a member of the bronze medal winning crew in the Open Surf Boat Championship at the recent National Surf Lifesaving Championships. Great job, Kurt!   John Wormell (SHS 2010) was awarded the University Medal in Applied Mathematics at the University of Sydney. An outstanding achievement!

Welcome Back to Term 2
Welcome to Shannon Sainsbury who is replacing Paris Koh’k in Visual Arts. Paris was successful in obtaining a merit selection appointment to Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. Term 2 is invariably the most hectic term as we examine, assess, report on and discuss the progress of every boy in a ten-week time frame. We run straight into examinations: Year 9 Wednesday to Monday, Year 11 Thursday to Friday Week 2, and Year 10 Friday to Friday Week 2. All boys who want to attend the Armidale visit to TAS will have completed their examinations so that they are free to go.

Staff Development Day
Our staff spent a profitable day on 27 April. In the morning the revised contents of the school’s Emergency Management Plan were presented and discussed. We have learnt considerably from the lock down experience we had last year and incorporated some changed processes into our Plan for 2016. Next we had a presentation and workshop on double exceptionality – gifted students with autism. Detailed explanations of the behaviour of students with autism were presented, raising staff awareness as to how better to meet their learning, emotional and psychological needs. Staff in cross faculty groups then evaluated our current reporting process. We addressed questions such as: What is the purpose of reporting? Who is it for? Do we use reports to their best effect? Should reports be only digital? What is the role of the Year Adviser comments? Examples of good quality report comments were discussed in the groups. Comments were recorded live for other groups to observe. There was also an activity where staff had an opportunity to rate the school’s performance against elements of the School Excellence Framework. Although there was insufficient time on the day for these tasks to be completed, the suggestions will be collated, organised and presented by the Quality Teaching team during term 2. We intend to revisit these topics later in the year. After lunch I presented a power point summarising the work of Ian Gilbert “Why Do I need A Teacher When I’ve Got Google?” His message is to put the learner at the centre of the learning process and to tap into the increased learning opportunities that technology allows the IT savvy students of today. As the century progresses the employment sector is differentiating rapidly and a different range of skills will be needed. Gilbert argues that teachers have a vital role to play as facilitators of children’s learning.

Properties Update
During the holidays our contractors were busy upgrading the cabling, computer hardware and keyboards in Music Room 101. Our students routinely access the Sibelius program when composing. The existing equipment was ageing and in need of replacement. All music students will appreciate the new set up. Also, our continuing demand for space in the school was alleviated partially by the construction of a storage room under the library stairs in Killip Wing.  A small group / examination space will be freed up in the Projection Room, currently used for storage. The new shower / toilet facility for staff and COLA users was made ready for use starting this term.

Governors Centre Update
Our once in a generation project, the construction of a theatre and examination space in partnership with SGHS, has reached an important milestone – submission of the Development Application. This was lodged in the first week of April. We expect approval sometime in June.  For those of you who think this project has been going on a long time … remember the Sydney Opera House construction!  Defining projects seem always to take a long time, cost much more than people expected and are very hard to finance (the Opera House Lottery lasted for ages). The Governors Centre project will be to Sydney High what the Opera House project was to Sydney – seemingly never ending in the lead up and development but a proud achievement for a very long time after its successful construction. Once we have satisfactory formal agreements in place with SGHS and City of Sydney Council approval, we have to decide as two communities to commit to the next step – prepaying the proposed tender expenses to the Department of Education. Each school will need c.$5.25 million initially and another c. $950k for the final fit out of the building. We are working towards these targets but we will need ongoing support from parents, Old Boys and friends of High to get there.
Dr K A Jaggar

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